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Published August 20, 2013 | public
Journal Article

Optical-Resolution Photoacoustic Microscopy: Auscultation of Biological Systems at the Cellular Level


Photoacoustic microscopy (PAM) offers unprecedented sensitivity to optical absorption and opens a new window to study biological systems at multiple length- and timescales. In particular, optical-resolution PAM (OR-PAM) has pushed the technical envelope to submicron length scales and millisecond timescales. Here, we review the state of the art of OR-PAM in biophysical research. With properly chosen optical wavelengths, OR-PAM can spectrally differentiate a variety of endogenous and exogenous chromophores, unveiling the anatomical, functional, metabolic, and molecular information of biological systems. Newly uncovered contrast mechanisms of linear dichroism and Förster resonance energy transfer further distinguish OR-PAM. Integrating multiple contrasts and advanced scanning mechanisms has capacitated OR-PAM to comprehensively interrogate biological systems at the cellular level in real time. Two future directions are discussed, where OR-PAM holds the potential to translate basic biophysical research into clinical healthcare.

Additional Information

© 2013 Biophysical Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. Submitted November 1, 2012, and accepted for publication July 12, 2013. This work was sponsored in part by National Institutes of Health grant Nos. R01 EB008085, R01 CA134539, U54 CA136398, R01 CA157277, R01 CA159959, and DP1 EB016986 (National Institutes of Health Director's Pioneer Award). Lihong V. Wang has a financial interest in Microphotoacoustics Inc., and Endra Inc., which, however, did not support this work.

Additional details

August 19, 2023
October 20, 2023