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Published October 1, 2010 | Published
Journal Article Open

Subwavelength-resolution label-free photoacoustic microscopy of optical absorption in vivo


Optical absorption provides essential biological functional information but cannot be sensed by mainstream optical microscopy technologies directly, which detect fluorescence or scattering and may require undesirable labeling. Here we developed in vivo subwavelength-resolution photoacoustic microscopy (SW-PAM) that provides exquisitely high optical-absorption contrast due to nonfluorescent, or fluorescent, endogenous pigments. Having approached the ultimate diffraction-limited optical resolution, SW-PAM can resolve subcellular organelles. Vasculature and early-stage melanoma were imaged with 12:1 and 17:1 contrasts, respectively, without labeling. SW-PAM along with the scaled-up macroscopy, as the only technology that measures the same contrast origin over such a wide length scale, can potentially accelerate translation from microscopic research to clinical practice.

Additional Information

© 2010 Optical Society of America. Received July 26, 2010; revised August 27, 2010; accepted August 31, 2010; posted September 2, 2010 (Doc. ID 132345); published September 21, 2010. We thank L. Li and Y. Wang for experimental assistance and helpful discussion, Y. Zhang for fixing and staining melanoma cells, D. Yao for help with OM, and M. Yang for preparing gold nanospheres. This work was sponsored in part by National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants R01 EB000712, R01 EB008085, R01 CA113453901, U54 CA136398, and 5P60 DK02057933. L. W. has a financial interest in Microphotoacoustics, Inc., and Endra, Inc., which, however, did not support this work.

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