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Published March 6, 2006 | Published
Book Section - Chapter Open

A photoacoustic imaging system employing a curved-phased ultrasonic array and parallel electronics


Real-time photoacoustic imaging requires ultrasonic array receivers and parallel data acquisition systems for the simultaneous detection of weak photoacoustic signals. In this paper, we introduce a newly completed ultrasonic receiving array system and report preliminary results of our measured point spread function. The system employs a curved ultrasonic phased array consisting of 128-elements, which span a quarter of a complete circle. The center frequency of the array is 5 MHz and the bandwidth is greater than 60%. In order to maximize the signal-to-noise ratio for photoacoustic signal detection, we utilized special designs for the analog front-end electronics. First, the 128 transducer-element signals were routed out using a 50-Ohm impedance matching PCB board to sustain signal integrity. We also utilize 128 low-noise pre-amplifiers, connected directly to the ultrasonic transducer, to amplify the weak photoacoustic signals before they were multiplexed to a variable-gain multi-stage amplifier chain. All front-end circuits were placed close to the transducer array to minimize signal lose due to cables and therefore improve the signal-to-noise ratio. Sixteen analog-to-digital converters were used to sample signals at a rate of 40 mega-samples per second with a resolution of 10-bits per sample. This allows us to perform a complete electronic scan of all 128 elements using just eight laser pulses.

Additional Information

© 2006 Society of Photo-optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). The work was supported by the National Institute of Health under contract R01 NS46214. The authors wish to thank Mr. Pierre Dufilie for his consultation on our electronic design, Ramakrishna Parchuri and Jaime Villamarin for their aid in testing our imaging system and all our group members for their help.

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