Underwater shock wave research applied to therapeutic device developments

K. Takayama, H. Yamamoto, H. Shimokawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The chronological development of underwater shock wave research performed at the Shock Wave Research Center of the Institute of Fluid Science at the Tohoku University is presented. Firstly, the generation of planar underwater shock waves in shock tubes and their visualization by using the conventional shadowgraph and schlieren methods are described. Secondly, the generation of spherical underwater shock waves by exploding lead azide pellets weighing from several tens of micrograms to 100 mg, that were ignited by irradiating with a Q-switched laser beam, and their visualization by using double exposure holographic interferometry are presented. The initiation, propagation, reflection, focusing of underwater shock waves, and their interaction with various interfaces, in particular, with air bubbles, are visualized quantitatively. Based on such a fundamental underwater shock wave research, collaboration with the School of Medicine at the Tohoku University was started for developing a shock wave assisted therapeutic device, which was named an extracorporeal shock wave lithotripter (ESWL). Miniature shock waves created by irradiation with Q-switched HO:YAG laser beams are studied, as applied to damaged dysfunctional nerve cells in the myocardium in a precisely controlled manner, and are effectively used to design a catheter for treating arrhythmia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)963-975
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Engineering Physics and Thermophysics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Jul


  • ESWL
  • arrhythmia
  • double exposure holographic interferometry
  • high-speed video recording
  • medical application
  • microexplosion
  • silicon oil
  • soft tissue dissection
  • underwater shock wave
  • water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Engineering(all)


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