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Published February 17, 2011 | Published
Book Section - Chapter Open

Development of real-time photoacoustic microscopy


Photoacoustic tomography detecting ultrasound signals generated from photon absorption provides optical absorption contrast in vivo for structural, functional and molecular imaging. Although photoacoustic tomography technology has grown fast in recent years, real-time photoacoustic imaging with cellular spatial resolution are still strongly demanded. We developed a photoacoustic microscopy which has video-rate imaging capability with cellular spatial resolution. The system consists of a single-element focused ultrasound transducer, a fiber-based light-delivery subsystem, a voice-coil translation stage, a motion controller, and a data acquisition subsystem. A compact cube is employed to split optical and acoustic beams. The mass of the entire scanning photoacoustic probe is less than 40 grams, which minimizes potential vibrations and inertial effects, therefore, makes it capable to scan fast. The imaging system is capable of acquiring 20 cross-sectional (B-scan) images per second over 9 mm, and up to 40 B-scan images per second over 1 mm. Focused laser beams provide a lateral resolution of five microns. Confocal deployment of optical and acoustic focuses provides higher SNR than optical scanning approach. Micron-sized carbon particles flowing in silicone tubing and in vivo blood flows were imaged in video-rate, which demonstrated the capability to image highly dynamic biological processes in vivo with cellular resolution. This real-time high-resolution photoacoustic imaging system provides a promising approach for various in vivo imaging and quantitative studies.

Additional Information

© 2011 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). We thank Song Hu, Dakang Yao, Liang Song, and Christopher Favazza for helpful discussions. This work was sponsored in part by National Institutes of Health grants R01 EB000712, R01 EB008085, R01 CA134539, U54 CA136398, R01 EB010049, and 5P60 DK02057933. L. V. Wang has a financial interest in Microphotoacoustics, Inc. and Endra, Inc., which, however, did not support this work.

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