Volumetric imaging of erythrocytes using label-free multiphoton photoacoustic microscopy

Ryan L Shelton, Scott P Mattison, Brian E Applegate
Journal of Biophotonics 2014, 7 (10): 834-40
Photoacoustic microscopy (PAM) is an imaging modality well suited to mapping vasculature and other strong absorbers in tissue. However, one of the primary drawbacks to PAM when used for high-resolution imaging is the relatively poor axial resolution due to the inverse dependence on the transducer bandwidth. While submicron lateral resolution PAM can be achieved by tightly focusing the excitation light, the axial resolution is fundamentally limited to 10s of microns for typical transducer frequencies. Here we present a multiphoton PAM technique called transient absorption ultrasonic microscopy (TAUM), which results in a completely optically resolved voxel with an experimentally measured axial resolution of 1.5 microns. This technique is demonstrated by imaging individual red blood cells in three dimensions in blood smear and ex vivo tissues. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of fully resolved, volumetric photoacoustic imaging of erythrocytes.

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