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Published March 2008 | Published
Journal Article Open

Curved array photoacoustic tomographic system for small animal imaging


We present systematic characterization of a photoacoustic imaging system optimized for rapid, high-resolution tomographic imaging of small animals. The system is based on a 128-element ultrasonic transducer array with a 5-MHz center frequency and 80% bandwidth shaped to a quarter circle of 25mm radius. A 16-channel data-acquisition module and dedicated channel detection electronics enable capture of a 90-deg field-of-view image in less than 1s and a complete 360-deg scan using sample rotation within 15s. Measurements on cylindrical phantom targets demonstrate a resolution of better than 200μm and high-sensitivity detection of 580-μm blood tubing to depths greater than 3cm in a turbid medium with reduced scattering coefficient μ′s =7.8cm^(−1). The system is used to systematically investigate the effects of target size, orientation, and geometry on tomographic imaging. As a demonstration of these effects and the system imaging capabilities, we present tomographic photoacoustic images of the brain vasculature of an ex vivo mouse with varying measurement aperture. For the first time, according to our knowledge, resolution of sub-200-μm vessels with an overlying turbid medium of greater than 2cm depth is demonstrated using only intrinsic biological contrast.

Additional Information

© 2008 SPIE. Paper 07224R received Jun. 19, 2007; revised manuscript received Sep. 6, 2007; accepted for publication Nov. 6, 2007; published online Apr. 17, 2008. We acknowledge partial support from National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants NIH R01NS46214 and NIH R01EB002136.

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