Handheld probe integrating laser diode and ultrasound transducer array for ultrasound/photoacoustic dual modality imaging

K Daoudi, P J van den Berg, O Rabot, A Kohl, S Tisserand, P Brands, W Steenbergen
Optics Express 2014 October 20, 22 (21): 26365-74
Ultrasound and photoacoustics can be utilized as complementary imaging techniques to improve clinical diagnoses. Photoacoustics provides optical contrast and functional information while ultrasound provides structural and anatomical information. As of yet, photoacoustic imaging uses large and expensive systems, which limits their clinical application and makes the combination costly and impracticable. In this work we present and evaluate a compact and ergonomically designed handheld probe, connected to a portable ultrasound system for inexpensive, real-time dual-modality ultrasound/photoacoustic imaging. The probe integrates an ultrasound transducer array and a highly efficient diode stack laser emitting 130 ns pulses at 805 nm wavelength and a pulse energy of 0.56 mJ, with a high pulse repetition frequency of up to 10 kHz. The diodes are driven by a customized laser driver, which can be triggered externally with a high temporal stability necessary to synchronize the ultrasound detection and laser pulsing. The emitted beam is collimated with cylindrical micro-lenses and shaped using a diffractive optical element, delivering a homogenized rectangular light intensity distribution. The system performance was tested in vitro and in vivo by imaging a human finger joint.

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