© 2018 The Author(s). Focused ultrasound combined with bubble-based agents serves as a non-invasive way to open the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Passive acoustic detection was well studied recently to monitor the acoustic emissions induced by the bubbles under ultrasound energy, but the ability to perform reliable BBB opening with a real-time feedback control algorithm has not been fully evaluated. This study focuses on characterizing the acoustic emissions of different types of bubbles: Optison, Definity, and a custom-made nanobubble. Their performance on reliable BBB opening under real-time feedback control based on acoustic detection was evaluated both in-vitro and in-vivo. The experiments were conducted using a 0.5 MHz focused ultrasound transducer with in-vivo focal pressure ranges from 0.1-0.7 MPa. Successful feedback control was achieved with all three agents when combining with infusion injection. Localized opening was confirmed with Evans blue dye leakage. Microscopic images were acquired to review the opening effects. Under similar total gas volume, nanobubble showed a more reliable opening effect compared to Optison and Definity (p < 0.05). The conclusions obtained from this study confirm the possibilities of performing stable opening using a feedback control algorithm combined with infusion injection. It also opens another potential research area of BBB opening using sub-micron bubbles.