Photoacoustic tomography: Ultrasonically beating optical diffusion for deep imaging
Photoacoustic tomography (PAT), combining optical and ultrasonic waves via the photoacoustic effect, provides in vivo functional, metabolic, molecular, and histologic imaging. PAT has the unique strength of high-resolution imaging across the length scales of organelles, cells, tissues, and organs with consistent contrast. PAT has the potential to empower multiscale biology research and accelerate translation from microscopic laboratory discoveries to macroscopic clinical practice. PAT may also hold the key to the earliest detection of cancer by in vivo label-free quantification of hypermetabolism, the quintessential hallmark of cancer. Broad applications include imaging of the breast, brain, skin, esophagus, colon, vascular system, and lymphatic system in both humans and animals.