An acoustic and photoacoustic characterization of micron-sized perfluorocarbon (PFC) droplets is presented. PFC droplets are currently being investigated as acoustic and photoacoustic contrast agents and as cancer therapy agents. Pulse echo measurements at 375 MHz were used to determine the diameter, ranging from 3.2 to 6.5 μm, and the sound velocity, ranging from 311 to 406 m/s of nine droplets. An average sound velocity of 379 ± 18 m/s was calculated for droplets larger than the ultrasound beam width of 4.0 μm. Optical droplet vaporization, where vaporization of a single droplet occurred upon laser irradiation of sufficient intensity, was verified using pulse echo acoustic methods. The ultrasonic backscatter amplitude, acoustic impedance and attenuation increased after vaporization, consistent with a phase change from a liquid to gas core. Photoacoustic measurements were used to compare the spectra of three droplets ranging in diameter from 3.0 to 6.2 μm to a theoretical model. Good agreement in the spectral features was observed over the bandwidth of the 375 MHz transducer.© (2011) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.