Comparison between optical-resolution photoacoustic microscopy and confocal laser scanning microscopy for turbid sample imaging

Paweena U-Thainual, Do-Hyun Kim
Journal of Biomedical Optics 2015, 20 (12): 121202
Optical-resolution photoacoustic microscopy (ORPAM) in theory provides lateral resolution equivalent to the optical diffraction limit. Scattering media, such as biological turbid media, attenuates the optical signal and also alters the diffraction-limited spot size of the focused beam. The ORPAM signal is generated only from a small voxel in scattering media with dimensions equivalent to the laser spot size after passing through scattering layers and is detected by an acoustic transducer, which is not affected by optical scattering. Thus, both ORPAM and confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) reject scattered light. A multimodal optical microscopy platform that includes ORPAM and CLSM was constructed, and the lateral resolution of both modes was measured using patterned thin metal film with and without a scattering barrier. The effect of scattering media on the lateral resolution was studied using different scattering coefficients and was compared to computational results based on Monte Carlo simulations. It was found that degradation of lateral resolution due to optical scattering was not significant for either ORPAM or CLSM. The depth discrimination capability of ORPAM and CLSM was measured using microfiber embedded in a light scattering phantom material. ORPAM images demonstrated higher contrast compared to CLSM images partly due to reduced acoustic signal scattering.

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