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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Non-contact biomedical photoacoustic and ultrasound imaging

Guy Rousseau, Bruno Gauthier, Alain Blouin, Jean-Pierre Monchalin
Journal of Biomedical Optics 2012, 17 (6): 061217
22734747
The detection of ultrasound in photoacoustic tomography (PAT) usually relies on ultrasonic transducers in contact with the biological tissue through a coupling medium. This is a major drawback for important potential applications such as surgery. Here we report the use of a remote optical method, derived from industrial laser-ultrasonics, to detect ultrasound in tissues. This approach enables non-contact PAT (NCPAT) without exceeding laser exposure safety limits. The sensitivity of the method is based on the use of suitably shaped detection laser pulses and a confocal Fabry-Perot interferometer in differential configuration. Reliable image reconstruction is obtained by measuring remotely the surface profile of the tissue with an optical coherence tomography system. The proposed method also allows non-contact ultrasound imaging (US) by applying a second reconstruction algorithm to the data acquired for NCPAT. Endogenous and exogenous inclusions exhibiting optical and acoustic contrasts were detected ex vivo in chicken breast and calf brain specimens. Inclusions down to 0.3 mm in size were detected at depths exceeding 1 cm. The method could expand the scope of photoacoustic and US to in-vivo biomedical applications where contact is impractical.

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