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Published March 3, 2014 | Published
Book Section - Chapter Open

Optical focusing in scattering media with photoacoustic wavefront shaping (PAWS)


Controllable light delivery to the region of interest is essential to biomedical optical imaging methods like photoacoustic microscopy. It is, however, challenging beyond superficial depths in biological tissue (~1 mm beneath human skin) due to the strong scattering of light that scrambles the photon propagation paths. Recently, optical wavefront shaping has been proposed to modulate the incident light wavefront to compensate for the scattering-induced phase distortions, and consequentially, convey light optimally to a desired location behind or inside turbid media. To reach an optimum wavefront, a searching algorithm is usually required to optimize a feedback signal. In this work, we present our latest explorations, which use photoacoustic signals as the feedback to remotely and non-invasively guide the wavefront shaping process. Our method does not require direct optical access to the target region or the invasive embedding of fluorescence probes inside turbid media. Experimentally, we have demonstrated that diffuse light can be converged to the ultrasound focus by maximizing the amplitude of photoacoustic emissions from the intended absorbing site. Moreover, we show that wavefront-shaped light focusing can enhance existing optical imaging modalities like photoacoustic microscopy, in regard to signal-to-noise ratio, imaging depth, and potentially, resolution.

Additional Information

© 2014 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers. This research is sponsored in part by the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative grant IS 13, National Institute of Health grants DP1 EB016986 (NIH Director's Pioneer Award), and R01 CA186567 (NIH Director's Transformative Research Award). L.W. has a financial interest in Microphotoacoustics, Inc. and Endra, Inc., which, however, did not support this work.

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