Cavitation bubbles are known to accelerate therapeutic effects of ultrasound. Although negative acoustic pressure is the principle factor of cavitation, positive acoustic pressure has a role for bubble cloud formation at a high intensity of focused ultrasound when cavitation bubbles provide pressure release surfaces converting the pressure from highly positive to negative. In this study, the second-harmonic was superimposed onto the fundamental acoustic pressure to emphasize either peak positive or negative pressure. The peak negative and positive pressure emphasized waves were focused on a surface of an aluminum block. Cavitation bubbles induced near the block were observed with a high-speed camera by backlight and the size of the cavitation generation region was measured from the high-speed images. The negative pressure emphasized waves showed an advantage in cavitation inception over the positive pressure emphasized waves. In the sequence of the negative pressure emphasized waves immediately followed by the positive pressure emphasized waves, cavitation bubbles were generated on the block by the former waves and the cavitation region were expanded toward the transducer in the latter waves with high reproducibility. The sequence demonstrated its potential usefulness in enhancing the effects of therapeutic ultrasound at a high acoustic intensity.
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