Open Access Technical Tools

This directory seeks to aggregate tools and other technical resources of interest to focused ultrasound researchers.  See information below related to the following: 

The lists below will be updated as new collateral is developed. If you have other tools which you believe should be included in this directory, please email with a link, your contact information, and resource description. 

The open source tools linked below are created and maintained by third-party organizations. The Foundation provides these links to disseminate knowledge, but is not liable for any issues arising from their use.

Open Access HIFU Simulation Software 

All the tools listed below are freely available, and some can be used to simulate non-linear propagation of ultrasound. 

Kranion® is an open source, interactive transcranial focused ultrasound visualization system designed and produced by the Foundation’s former Brain Program Technical Director, John Snell, PhD. It can import Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) MR and CT studies and perform several visualization and procedure preplanning functions. GPU support provides interactive performance on supported graphics hardware. Kranion is intended for research purposes only.

HITU Simulator 
A high-intensity therapeutic ultrasound (HITU) simulation package written for MATLAB. It performs ultrasound propagation of axisymmetric beams as well as heating and calculation of thermal dose in tissue. It was developed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and this is an update of the HIFU_Simulator package. 

k-Wave is an open source acoustics toolbox for MATLAB and C++ developed at University College London and Brno University of Technology. 

HIFU Beam software 
A freely available software tool that comprises a MATLAB toolbox, designed for simulating high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) fields generated by single-element transducers and annular arrays with propagation in flat-layered media that mimic biological tissues.

Related publication
Yuldashev PV, Karzova MM, Kreider W, Rosnitskiy PB, Sapozhnikov OA, Khokhlova VA. “HIFU Beam:” A Simulator for Predicting Axially Symmetric Nonlinear Acoustic Fields Generated by Focused Transducers in a Layered Medium. IEEE Trans Ultrason Ferroelectr Freq Control. 2021 Sep;68(9):2837-2852. doi: 10.1109/TUFFC.2021.3074611. Epub 2021 Aug 27.

FOCUS is a free cross-platform ultrasound simulation tool that quickly and accurately calculates pressure fields generated by single transducers and phased arrays. It was developed by Michigan State University.

mSOUND is an open-source toolbox written in MATLAB.

BabelBrain is an open-source standalone graphic-user-interface application designed for studies of neuromodulation using transcranial focused ultrasound. It calculates the transmitted acoustic field in the brain tissue, taking into account the distortion effects caused by the skull barrier. The simulation is prepared using scans from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and, if available, computed tomography and zero-echo time MRI scans. It also calculates the thermal effects based on a given ultrasound regime, such as the total duration of exposure, the duty cycle, and acoustic intensity. The tool is designed to work in tandem with neuronavigation and visualization software, such as 3DSlicer, and supports major operating systems (macOS, Linux and Windows) and GPU backends (CUDA, OpenCL and Metal).

Transducer, Calibration, and Coupling Resources 

Calibration / Hydrophone Scanning Tank 
Sam Clinard, Erin Wettstone, David Moore, John Snell, Frederic Padilla, Matt Eames. Low-Cost 3-D Hydrophone Scanning Tank with MATLAB GUI Control. Ultrasound in Medicine & Biology. Volume 48, Issue 1. 2022. Pages 157-163. ISSN 0301-5629.

Low-Cost Transducer 
Z. Hu, S. Chen, Y. Yang, Y. Gong and H. Chen. An Affordable and Easy-to-Use Focused Ultrasound Device for Noninvasive and High Precision Drug Delivery to the Mouse Brain. IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering. vol. 69, no. 9. pp. 2723-2732. Sept. 2022, doi: 10.1109/TBME.2022.3150781.

Low-Cost Schlieren Calibration Setup
Huiwen Luo, Jiro Kusunose, Gianmarco Pinton, Charles F. Caskey, and William A. Grissom. Rapid Quantitative Imaging of High Intensity Ultrasonic Pressure Fields. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America .148, 660-677. 2020.

Open Source Skin Cooling System for Focused Ultrasound Applications
The Foundation funded a collaborative project between Allison Payne at University of Utah and Pejman Ghanouni at Stanford University to tackle the issue of thermal damage to the skin during shallow FUS ablations. The particular concern from Dr. Ghanouni was treating tumors of the hand. He had discussed this issue with FUSF staff and, separately, with Dr. Payne. In 2018 Allison proposed the collaborative study to the Foundation to create an open source, cross platform tool to address skin cooling. Linked here are the results of that project, free to replicate. Any published use of this tool should reference the linked FocUS Archive pre-print.

Tissue Mimicking Material / Phantom Materials 

Liu Y, Maruvada S, King RL, Herman BA, Wear KA. Development and characterization of a blood mimicking fluid for high intensity focused ultrasound. J Acoust Soc Am. 2008 Sep;124(3):1803-10. doi: 10.1121/1.2956469.
This article describes a blood mimicking fluid (BMF) for the acoustic and thermal characterizations of HIFU ablation devices, developed by the FDA.

Regulatory Science Tools 

The FDA maintains a catalog of regulatory science tools that includes:

  • Phantoms (physical and virtual) 
  • Methods (lab methods and clinical outcome assessments) 
  • Computational models and simulations (models and datasets)