A system for acoustical and optical analysis of encapsulated microbubbles at ultrahigh hydrostatic pressures


Acoustics are commonly used for borehole (i.e., oil well) imaging applications, under conditions where temperature and pressure reach extremes beyond that of conventional medical ultrasonics. Re-cently, there has been an interest in the application of encapsulated microbubbles as borehole contrast agents for acoustic assessment of fluid composition and flow. Although such microbubbles are widely studied under physiological conditions for medical imaging applications, to date there is a paucity of information on the behavior of encapsulated gas-filled microbubbles at high pressures. One major limitation is that there is a lack of experimental systems to assess both optical and acoustic data of micrometer-sized particles data at these extremes. In this paper, we present the design and application of a high-pressure cell designed for acoustical and optical studies of microbubbles at hydrostatic pres-sures up to 27.5 MPa (271 atm).