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Four dimensional hybrid ultrasound and optoacoustic imaging via passive element optical excitation in a hand-held probe


Abstract:

Ultrasonography and optoacoustic imaging share powerful advantages related to the natural aptitude for real-time image rendering with high resolution, the hand-held operation, and lack of ionizing radiation. The two methods also possess very different yet highly complementary advantages of the mechanical and optical contrast in living tissues. Nonetheless, efficient integration of these modalities remains challenging owing to the fundamental differences in the underlying physical contrast, optimal signal acquisition, and image reconstruction approaches. We report on a method for hybrid acquisition and reconstruction of three-dimensional pulse-echo ultrasound and optoacoustic images in real time based on passive ultrasound generation with an optical absorber, thus avoiding the hardware complexity of active ultrasound generation. In this way, complete hybrid datasets are generated with a single laser interrogation pulse, resulting in simultaneous rendering of ultrasound and optoacoustic images at an unprecedented rate of 10 volumetric frames per second. Performance is subsequently showcased in phantom experiments and in-vivo measurements from a healthy human volunteer, confirming general clinical applicability of the method.