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Published December 2012 | Published
Journal Article Open

Photoacoustic microscopy of bilirubin in tissue phantoms


Determining both bilirubin's concentration and its spatial distribution are important in disease diagnosis. Here, for the first time, we applied quantitative multiwavelength photoacoustic microscopy (PAM) to detect bilirubin concentration and distribution simultaneously. By measuring tissue-mimicking phantoms with different bilirubin concentrations, we showed that the root-mean-square error of prediction has reached 0.52 and 0.83  mg/dL for pure bilirubin and for blood-mixed bilirubin detection (with 100% oxygen saturation), respectively. We further demonstrated the capability of the PAM system to image bilirubin distribution both with and without blood. Finally, by underlaying bilirubin phantoms with mouse skins, we showed that bilirubin can be imaged with consistent accuracy down to >400  μm in depth. Our results show that PAM has potential for noninvasive bilirubin monitoring in vivo, as well as for further clinical applications.

Additional Information

© 2012 SPIE. Paper 12226 received Apr. 11, 2012; revised manuscript received Nov. 19, 2012; accepted for publication Nov. 20, 2012; published online Dec. 13, 2012. The authors gratefully acknowledge the suggestions made by the reviewers of this manuscript, and by Prof. James Ballard at Washington University in St. Louis. This work was sponsored in part by National Institutes of Health grants R01 EB000712, R01 EB008085, R01 CA134539, U54 CA136398, R01 CA157277, and R01 CA159959. L.W. has a financial interest in Microphotoacoustics, Inc. and Endra, Inc., which, however, did not support this work.

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