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Published April 2006 | Published
Journal Article Open

Photoacoustic imaging in biomedicine


Photoacoustic imaging (also called optoacoustic or thermoacoustic imaging) has the potential to image animal or human organs, such as the breast and the brain, with simultaneous high contrast and high spatial resolution. This article provides an overview of the rapidly expanding field of photoacoustic imaging for biomedical applications. Imaging techniques, including depth profiling in layered media, scanning tomography with focused ultrasonic transducers, image forming with an acoustic lens, and computed tomography with unfocused transducers, are introduced. Special emphasis is placed on computed tomography, including reconstruction algorithms, spatial resolution, and related recent experiments. Promising biomedical applications are discussed throughout the text, including (1) tomographic imaging of the skin and other superficial organs by laser-induced photoacoustic microscopy, which offers the critical advantages, over current high-resolution optical imaging modalities, of deeper imaging depth and higher absorptioncontrasts, (2) breast cancerdetection by near-infrared light or radio-frequency–wave-induced photoacoustic imaging, which has important potential for early detection, and (3) small animal imaging by laser-induced photoacoustic imaging, which measures unique optical absorptioncontrasts related to important biochemical information and provides better resolution in deep tissues than optical imaging.

Additional Information

© 2006 American Institute of Physics. Received 15 January 2004; accepted 20 February 2006; published online 17 April 2006. This project was sponsored in part by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command Grant No. DAMD17-00-1-0455, the National Institute of Health Grant Nos. R01 EB000712 and R01 NS46214, and Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Grant No. ARP 000512-0063-2001.

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