Photoacoustic imaging is based on the generation of acoustic waves in a semitransparent sample (e.g. soft tissue) after illumination with short pulses of light or radio waves. The goal is to recover the spatial distribution of absorbed energy density inside the sample from acoustic pressure signals measured outside the sample (photoacoustic inverse problem).

If the acoustic pressure outside the illuminated sample is measured with a large-aperture detector, the signal at a certain time is given by an integral of the generated acoustic pressure distribution over an area that is determined by the shape of the detector. For example a planar detector measures the projections of the initial pressure distribution over planes parallel to the detector plane, which is the Radon transform of the initial pressure distribution. Stable and exact three-dimensional imaging with planar integrating detector requires measurements in all directions of space and so the receiver plane has to be rotated to cover the entire detection surface.

We have recently presented a simpler set-up for exact imaging which requires only a single rotation axis and therefor the fragmentation of the area detector into line detectors perpendicular to the rotation axis. Using a two-dimensional reconstruction method and applying the inverse two-dimensional Radon transform afterwards gives an exact reconstruction of the three-dimensional sample with this set-up.

In order to achieve high resolution, a fiber based Fabry-Perot interferometer is used. It is a single mode fiber with two fiber bragg gratings on both ends of the line detector. Thermal shifts and vibrations are compensated by frequency locking of the laser. The high resolution and the good performance of this integrating line detector has been demonstrated by photoacoustic measurements with line grid samples and phantoms using a model-based time reversal method for image reconstruction. The time reversed pressure field can be calculated directly by retransmitting the measured pressure on the detector positions in a reversed temporal order.

© 2007 SPIE

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