Acoustic Radiation Force: A Review of Four Mechanisms for Biomedical Applications

Armen P. Sarvazyan, Oleg V. Rudenko, Mostafa Fatemi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Radiation force is a universal phenomenon in any wave motion where the wave energy produces a static or transient force on the propagation medium. The theory of acoustic radiation force (ARF) dates back to the early 19th century. In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in the biomedical applications of ARF. Following a brief history of ARF, this article describes a concise theory of ARF under four physical mechanisms of radiation force generation in tissue-like media. These mechanisms are primarily based on the dissipation of acoustic energy of propagating waves, the reflection of the incident wave, gradients of the compressional wave speeds, and the spatial variations of energy density in standing acoustic waves. Examples describing some of the practical applications of ARF under each mechanism are presented. This article concludes with a discussion on selected ideas for potential future applications of ARF in biomedicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3261-3269
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021


  • Acoustics
  • biomedicine
  • imaging
  • radiation force
  • ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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