Magnetomotive Ultrasound Imaging Systems: Basic Principles and First Applications

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


This review discusses magnetomotive ultrasound, which is an emerging technique that uses superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles as a contrast agent. The key advantage of using nanoparticle-based contrast agents is their ability to reach extravascular targets, whereas commercial contrast agents for ultrasound comprise microbubbles confined to the blood stream. This also extends possibilities for molecular imaging, where the contrast agent is labeled with specific targeting molecules (e.g., antibodies) so that pathologic tissue may be visualized directly. The principle of action is that an external time-varying magnetic field acts to displace the nanoparticles lodged in tissue and thereby their immediate surrounding. This movement is then detected with ultrasound using frequency- or time-domain analysis of echo data. As a contrast agent already approved for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) by the US Food and Drug Administration, there is a shorter path to clinical translation, although safety studies of magnetomotion are necessary, especially if particle design is altered to affect biodistribution or signal strength. The external modulated magnetic field may be generated by electromagnets, permanent magnets, or a combination of the two. The induced nanoparticle motion may also reveal mechanical material properties of tissue, healthy or diseased, one of several interesting potential future aspects of the technique.


External organisations
  • Region Skåne
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging


  • Magnetomotive, Molecular imaging, Ultrasound
Original languageEnglish
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2020 Aug 1
Publication categoryResearch