LMA - Laboratoire de Mécanique et d’Acoustique

Theme Medical Ultrasound

The theme “Medical Ultrasound” develops new ultrasound-based techniques for the characterization and imaging of biological tissues such as the breast, bone and blood. Research progresses concern the inverse problems in wave propagation with all the fundamental aspects involved: the understanding of the mechanisms of interaction between wave and scatterers, the data acquisition strategy, their inversion and the image reconstruction with the quantitative character (in opposition to the qualitative character of conventional ultrasonic imaging).

Scientific objectives

Our research aims to develop new methods and to design prototypes for ultrasound imaging and characterization using theoretical, computational and experimental tools. For ultrasound imaging techniques, we develop linear and non-linear tomographic inversion methods and experimental systems (multi-element antenna) for the detection of breast cancer and of bone pathologies. For ultrasound characterization techniques, the goals are to extract quantitative measured describing acoustic characteristics of the scanned tissue, such as intrinsic acoustic properties (elastic tensors, sound speeds, absorption, porosity) and tissue structures (size distribution, compactness and/or concentration of scatterers). These characterization techniques necessitate the elaboration of theoretical modeling (effective medium theory combined with the structure factor model, non-linear dynamic model) describing the interaction mechanisms wave-scatterers (wave-cells, wave-porous medium).

  • Methodology: Ultrasound tomography, source/object location optimization, quantitative ultrasound techniques of tissue microstructures, nonlinear acoustic, signal processing
  • Biomedical applications: breast cancer, bone pathologies, erythrocyte aggregation, microbubbles circulating in blood


  • Breast cancer detection using morphological ultrasound tomography and monitoring tumor response to therapy using quantitative ultrasound techniques of tissue microstructures
  • Study of the blood rheological disorders using quantitative ultrasound technique to estimate erythrocyte aggregate structures
  • Detection and characterization of pediatric bone pathologies using morphological and parametric ultrasound tomography
  • Modelling, detection and characterization of microbubbles for the prevention of decompression sickness
  • Source/object location optimization and signal processing techniques using ultrasound tomography
  • Nondestructive testing of standing trees using ultrasound tomography

Contribution to socio-economical aspects

Development of applications and specific studies in the Health field:

  • Vascular diseases: Ultrasound characterization of erythrocyte aggregation (Patent no PCT/CA2008/000673)
  • Prevention of decompression sickness: Detection and characterization of microbubbles (collaboration with the firm BF Systèmes)



  • international:
    • Laboratory of Biorheology and Medical Ultrasonics – University of Montréal (Canada), Dept. of Surgery, University of Alberta, Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital (Canada)
    • Department of Biomedical Engineering and Radiology - University of Columbia (USA)
    • Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas Bogotá (Colombia)
  • national:
    • in Marseille : ISM UMR 7287, Institut Fresnel UMR 7249, CINaM UMR 7325, IRPHE UMR 7342, NORT INSERM U 1062/INRA1260, APHM Timone & Hôpital Nord
    • out of Marseille : TIRO CEA Nice, LIP UMR 7623 Paris, IES UMR 5214 Montpellier, UR Bois Tropicaux CIRAD Montpellier, LAAS UPR 8001 Toulouse, IEMN UMR 8520 Lille, CREATIS UMR 5220 Lyon, LVA INSA Lyon, MapMo UMR 7349 Orléans, ISAE Université de Toulouse

Industrial partners

  • Firm VERMON in the framework of the ANR TECSAN BBMUT 2012-2015 “Broad Band ultrasound imaging using CMUT"
  • Firm BF Systèmes in the framework of the project DGA Rapid BORA "Bubble Occurrence and Risk Attrition", CIFRE grant for a PhD student Damien Fouan