Shock waves are used clinically since the 1980’s for the non-invasive fragmentation of kidney stones. For this purpose acoustic pulses with pressures of up to 150MPa and rise times in the nanosecond range are generated and focused on the stone inside the patient's body by suitable reflectors or surface geometries of the acoustic source. The kidney stone is then gradually fragmented by the mechanical stress of the shock waves and can leave the body with the urine.
Despite many years of experience, both doctors and manufacturers could so far not determine which shock wave and sound field shape is optimal for which phase of lithotripsy treatment. To investigate this relationship more precisely and to optimize a piezoelectric lithotripter, we develop concepts and measurement setups concerning the entire chain of action of stone disintegration depending on the sound field.