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Portable spherical array probe for volumetric real-time optoacoustic imaging at centimeter-scale depths


Abstract:

We report on a novel hand-held imaging probe for real-time optoacoustic visualization of deep tissues in three dimensions. The system incorporates an annular two-dimensional array of ultrasonic sensors densely distributed on a spherical surface. Simultaneous recording and processing of time-resolved data from all the channels enables acquisition of entire volumetric data sets for each illumination laser pulse. The proposed solution utilizes a transparent membrane in order to allow efficient coupling of optoacoustically generated waves to the ultrasonic detectors while avoiding direct contact of the imaged object with the coupling medium. The hand-held approach further allows convenient handling of both pre-clinical experiments as well as clinical measurements in human subjects. Here we demonstrate an imaging speed of 10 volumetric frames per second with spatial resolution down to 200 micrometers in the imaged region while also achieving imaging depth of more than 1.5 cm in living tissues without signal averaging.