• CO2 microbubbles;
  • flow-tracing contrast media;
  • biofluid flow;
  • X-ray imaging;
  • particle image velocimetry

X-ray imaging techniques have been employed to visualize various biofluid flow phenomena in a non-destructive manner. X-ray particle image velocimetry (PIV) was developed to measure velocity fields of blood flows to obtain hemodynamic information. A time-resolved X-ray PIV technique that is capable of measuring the velocity fields of blood flows under real physiological conditions was recently developed. However, technical limitations still remained in the measurement of blood flows with high image contrast and sufficient biocapability. In this study, CO2 microbubbles as flow-tracing contrast media for X-ray PIV measurements of biofluid flows was developed. Human serum albumin and CO2 gas were mechanically agitated to fabricate CO2 microbubbles. The optimal fabricating conditions of CO2 microbubbles were found by comparing the size and amount of microbubbles fabricated under various operating conditions. The average size and quantity of CO2 microbubbles were measured by using a synchrotron X-ray imaging technique with a high spatial resolution. The quantity and size of the fabricated microbubbles decrease with increasing speed and operation time of the mechanical agitation. The feasibility of CO2 microbubbles as a flow-tracing contrast media was checked for a 40% hematocrit blood flow. Particle images of the blood flow were consecutively captured by the time-resolved X-ray PIV system to obtain velocity field information of the flow. The experimental results were compared with a theoretically amassed velocity profile. Results show that the CO2 microbubbles can be used as effective flow-tracing contrast media in X-ray PIV experiments.