Abstract

We investigate photoacoustic (PA) signal magnitude variation to an absorption coefficient of localized absorbing objects measured by spherically focused ultrasound transducers (US TDs). For this investigation, we develop the PA simulation method that directly calculates Green function solutions of the Helmholtz PA wave equation, considering grid-like elements on absorbing objects and US TDs. The simulation results show that the PA signal amplitude in the PA imaging is nonlinearly varied to the absorption coefficient of localized objects, which are distinct from the known PA saturation effect. For spherical objects especially, the PA amplitude shows a maximum value at a certain absorption coefficient, and decreases even though the absorption coefficient further increases from that point. We suggest conceptual and mathematical interpretations for this phenomenon by analyzing the characteristics of PA spectra combined with US TD transfer functions, which indicates that the combined effect of US TD spatial and temporal filtering plays a significant role in the PA signal magnitude nonlinearity.

© 2019 Optical Society of America

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