Photoacoustic tomography (PAT) is based on the recording of the acoustic signals excited by illumination of a sample with short laser pulses. The detection of the acoustic signals can be realized either by small (point-like) detectors or by extended integrating detectors. The commonly applied detectors are arrays of small ultrasound transducers or single detectors scanning around the object. A rather new approach is the use of extended integrating detectors for acoustic wave monitoring to avoid the blurring effects of finite aperture sensors in PAT.
The present study is focused on the development of integrating line detectors. This is implemented by a combination of a planar waveguide (PWG) and a common path polarization interferometer (CPPI). An arriving acoustic pulse modifies the birefringence of the waveguide material. This leads to a change of phase difference between two orthogonally polarized fundamental waveguide modes, which is converted into a modulation of intensity by an analyzer. The obtained noise- equivalent pressure value is ~1bar without averaging which is rather poor compared to other methods but it can be increased by using polymer waveguide materials with better relative elasto-optic coupling coefficients than polystyrene (C=−19 10−7bar−1). The guiding polystyrene film had a thickness of 1.3 µm and was fabricated with a spin coating method. The bandwidth of the PWG sensor was limited only by the detection electronics to 125 MHz.
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