Optically activated cavitation in a nanoemulsion contrast agent is proposed for therapeutic applications. With a 56°C boiling point perfluorohexane core and highly absorptive gold nanospheres at the oil–water interface, cavitation nuclei in the core can be efficiently induced with a laser fluence below medical safety limits ( at 1064 nm). This agent is also sensitive to ultrasound (US) exposure and can induce inertial cavitation at a pressure within the medical diagnostic range. Images from a high-speed camera demonstrate bubble formation in these nanoemulsions. The potential of using this contrast agent for blood clot disruption is demonstrated in an in vitro study. The possibility of simultaneous laser and US excitation to reduce the cavitation threshold for therapeutic applications is also discussed.
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