The Center for Industrial and Medical Ultrasound (CIMU) is a world-class leader in ultrasound research and development.

Our talented multidisciplinary staff of physicists, mathematicians, engineers, technicians, and students works with a wide variety of researchers and medical professionals around the world to advance the expansion of the field.

CIMU staff (click image for enlargement)

These relationships are enhanced by many industry partnerships and help to foster CIMU's mission of research collaboration, development and commercialization of technology, and training and education of students and professionals.


  • Foster research collaborations between UW faculty and their industrial partners on industrial and medical ultrasound projects
  • Develop industrial and medical ultrasound technology, including instruments, techniques, ideas and products that have value to our society
  • Form partnerships with industry that enable this technology to be transferred to the commercial sector
  • Educate and train students and technical professionals working in the fields of industrial and medical ultrasound


  • In vitro and in vivo applications of ultrasound
  • High intensity focused ultrasound
  • Soft materials development
  • Transducer and amplifier development
  • Acoustic hemostasis
  • Kidney stone detection and treatment
  • Nonlinear acoustics modeling
  • sonoluminescence
  • Microbubble characterization
  • Cavitation generation/characterization
  • Ultrasound tools development

Tom Matula, Director

What's New?

CIMU Researchers and UW Radiology are exploring how to treat abscesses non-invasively using high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU). This experimental therapy could reduce pain, radiation exposure, antibiotic use, and costs for patients with abscesses. Therapeutic ultrasound could also treat abscesses too small or inaccessible for conventional drainage. More >>

Urologists and their patients from a first-in-humans clinical trial to reposition kidney stones with ultrasound envision the future benefits of the technology. More >>

Major Collaborations

  • University of Washington
    Mechanical Engineering
    Infectious Diseases
    Emergency Department
  • University of Illinois, Aerospace Engineering
  • Indiana University, Anatomy and Cell Biology
  • CalTech, Mechanical Engineering
  • Oxford University, Institute of Biomedical Engineering
  • Moscow University, Physics

In the News

Rock Stars: UW Researchers Take a Whack at Kidney Stone Disease

Seattle Business (page 11),

1 Feb 2017

Mike Bailey led a team to develop a system to avoid surgical procedures often associated with kidney stone disease. Using long pulses of sound waves, smaller stones are pushed from the kidney safely without anesthesia.

NASA-funded UW researchers develop kidney-stone zapping technology


4 Jul 2016

With help from a grant from the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (a NASA-funded group), the team is developing a handheld ultrasound device that can detect and pulverize kidney stones — without surgery or bulky equipment.

Move it along: Ultrasound to rid kidney stones sans surgery

UW Health Sciences NewsBeat,

12 Jan 2016

Every year, more than a half-million people in the United States go to the emergency room for kidney stones. The common condition leads to hundreds of thousands of surgeries each year. Two new technologies developed by University of Washington researchers could bring noninvasive relief to such patients.

Recent Papers

Chevillet, J.R., T.D. Khokhlova, M.D. Giraldez, G.R. Schade, F. Starr, Y.-N. Wang, E.N. Gallichotte, K. Wang, J.H. Hwang, and M. Tewari, "Release of cell-free microRNA tumor biomarkers in the blood circulation with pulsed focused ultrasound: A noninvasive, anatomically localized, molecular liquid biopsy," Radiology, EOR, doi:10.1148/radiol.2016160024, 2016.

1 Nov 2016, Link

Rosnitskiy, P.B., P.V. Yuldashev, O.A. Sapozhnikov, A. Maxwell, W. Kreider, M.R. Bailey, "Design of HIFU transducers for generating specific nonlinear ultrasound fields," IEEE Trans. Ultrason. Ferroelectr. Freq. Control, doi:10.1109/TUFFC.2016.2619913, 2016.

20 Oct 2016, Link

Ledoux, W.R., S. Pai, J.B. Shofer, and Y.-N. Wang, "The association between mechanical and biochemical/histological characteristics in diabetic and non-diabetic plantar soft tissue," J. Biomech., 49, 3328-3333, doi:10.1016/j.jbiomech.2016.08.021, 2016.

3 Oct 2016, Link

Educational Opportunities

Graduate and undergraduate students who wish to study ultrasound technology and science at the Applied Physics Laboratory work with CIMU advisors who have joint appointments in UW academic departments.  More >>