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


  • High intensity focused ultrasound
  • Acoustic hemostasis
  • Extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy
  • Nonlinear acoustics
  • Sonoluminescence

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 >>

Flow cytometry techniques are advancing ultrasound contrast agent science and therapeutics. A hybrid instrument — an off-the-shelf flow cytometer combined with an acoustic transducer — counts, sizes, and measures microbubble viscosity and elasticity at megahertz frequencies. More >>

SonoMotion: A budding start-up company to transition advanced research to an approved ultrasound-based system that treats kidney stone disease in hospitals and clinics around the world.   More >>

CIMU is imaging high-speed oscillating micro-bubbles in small blood vessels and observing how the bubble oscillations might help induce permeation, allowing drugs to be transported across that barrier and significantly improve uptake.   More >>

In the News

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.

Expelling stones with ultrasonic propulsion

Nature Reviews Urology,

17 Nov 2015

Ultrasonic propulsion can be used to reposition kidney stones and facilitate the passage of stone fragments, according to a new study.

Recent Papers

Li, J., X. Zhang, L. Qiu, and D.F. Leotta, "An upgraded camera-based imaging system for mapping venous blood oxygenation in human skin tissue," Opt. Commun., 370, 276-282, doi:10.1016/j.optcom.2016.03.030, 2016.

1 Jul 2016, Link

Zierler, R.E., et al., including D.F. Leotta, "Development of a duplex ultrasound simulator and preliminary validation of velocity measurements in carotid artery models," Vasc. Endovascular Surg., 50, 309-316, doi:10.1177/1538574416647502, 2016.

1 Jul 2016, Link

Khokhlova, T.D., W.L. Monsky, Y.A. Haider, A.D. Maxwell, Y.-N. Wang, and T.J. Matula, "Histotripsy liquefaction of large hematomas," Ultrasound Med. Biol., 42, 1491-1498, doi:10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2016.01.020, 2016.

1 Jul 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 >>