Design and evaluation of a hybrid photoacoustic tomography and diffuse optical tomography system for breast cancer detection

Lei Xi, Xiaoqi Li, Lei Yao, Stephen Grobmyer, Huabei Jiang
Medical Physics 2012, 39 (5): 2584-94

PURPOSE: The authors present the design and evaluation of a second-generation (G2) hybrid photoacoustic tomography (PAT) and diffuse optical tomography (DOT) imaging system for detection of breast cancer. The combined PAT/DOT system takes full advantages of two different modalities to provide complementary information and most accurate recovery of tissue optical properties.

METHODS: This system was designed to produce cross-section images of breast tissue with a ring-shaped home-made array of 64 wideband acoustic transducers combined with an array of 16/16 source/detector optical fiber bundles. A scanning light delivery system was built to illuminate a large area of breast tissue for optimized tissue penetration. Finite element reconstruction methods for quantitative PAT and DOT were utilized to recover absorption and scattering coefficients of tissue-mimicking phantoms and ex vivo tumor tissue.

RESULTS: Performances of the acoustic transducer array and the PAT/DOT system were investigated in detail. Frequency response of the transducers is from 380 kHz to 1.48 MHz and maximum frequency response is up to 2 MHz. Directivity of a single element in the array is ±30°. The PAT/DOT system offers a spatial resolution of ∼0.5 mm for PAT and of ∼4.0 mm for DOT. Quantitatively accurate absorption and scattering coefficients were obtained from both the phantom and ex vivo experiments.

CONCLUSIONS: The PAT/DOT system provided better PAT images when the targets were smaller in size and located near the center of the background phantom, while better DOT images were obtained when the targets were larger in size and located away from the center of the background. The successful results obtained from both the phantom and ex vivo experiments will allow us to test the hybrid system in humans with breast cancer in the near future.

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