Non-contact photoacoustic tomography and ultrasonography for tissue imaging
; Rousseau, Guy
; Blouin, Alain
NRC Industrial Materials Institute; National Research Council Canada
Biomedical optics express
NRC INDUSTRIAL MATERIALS INSTITUTE; INSTITUT DES MATÉRIAUX INDUSTRIELS du CNRC
The detection of ultrasound in photoacoustic tomography (PAT) and ultrasonography (US) usually relies on ultrasonic transducers in contact with the biological tissue. This is a major drawback for important potential applications such as surgery and small animal imaging. Here we report the use of remote optical detection, as used in industrial laser-ultrasonics, to detect ultrasound in biological tissues. This strategy enables non-contact implementation of PAT and US without exceeding laser exposure safety limits. The method uses suitably shaped laser pulses and a confocal Fabry-Perot interferometer in differential configuration to reach quantum-limited sensitivity. Endogenous and exogenous inclusions exhibiting optical and acoustic contrasts were detected ex vivo in chicken breast and calf brain specimens. Inclusions down to 0.5 mm in size were detected at depths well exceeding 1 cm. The method could significantly expand the scope of applications of PAT and US in biomedical imaging.