Columbia University

Technology Ventures

A non-invasive, non-destructive, accurate testing of mechanical properties via ultrasound imaging

Technology #2773

This technology uses focused ultrasound (FUS) to generate an internal force, which can be used to measure tissue elasticity non-invasively and non-destructively. This technology pairs a FUS transducer with an imaging transducer. The FUS transducer generates an oscillatory acoustic radiation force targeted at the material of interest. This wave generates an acoustic radiation force with a known magnitude. The imaging transducer is used to measure the resultant displacement of the material by the FUS. Collectively, this information is then used to calculate a material stiffness parameter highly correlated to the material’s Young’s modulus, which can help detect cancerous tumors or monitor tissues after treatments.

Non-invasive and non-destructive in situ measurements allow for examination of biological and other sensitive materials without requiring disruptive mechanical manipulations of the materials

FUS systems generate high intensity focused ultrasound waves in small regions of interest. When incident on a material these high intensity waves cause materials to expand and contract. By measuring the displacement of the material under focused ultrasound with a second imaging ultrasound transducer, the applied stress and uniaxial strain on the material can be determined. The ratio of these values is used to calculate a parameter highly correlated to the material’s Young’s modulus. Competing technologies require contact with the studied material, which limits the types of materials to external ones. FUS systems may help detect cancerous tissues early on and also allow for non-invasive treatment options. The ability of the technology to accurately determine material properties has been demonstrated with numerical and phantom based studies.

Lead Inventor:

Elisa E. Konofagou, Ph.D..


  • Measurement of elastic properties of organs, which can be measured for both preclinical and clinical applications
  • Mapping of elasticity of organs – the variation of elasticity over the surface of an organ can be used to identify abnormalities in stiffness
  • Assessment of orthopedic tissues resulting from diseases
  • Evaluation of skin softening products
  • Non-invasive evaluations of implant properties
  • Measuring tumor stiffness to determine angiogenesis or hypoxia in-vivo
  • Non-invasive, non-destructive measurement of elastic properties of non-biological materials in situ


  • Properties of tissues and other materials can be measured non-invasively
  • Method is non-destructive
  • Measurements made by this method is highly correlated to the material’s Young’s modulus
  • Method can detect cancerous tissues early
  • Method provides non-invasive treatment monitoring

Patent information:

Patent Issued (WO/2011/153268)

Tech Ventures Reference: IR 2773

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