Ultrasound-modulated optical imaging (or tomography) is an emerging biodiagnostic technique which provides the optical spectroscopic signature and the localization of an absorbing object embedded in a strongly scattering medium. We propose to improve the sensitivity of the technique by using a pulsed single-frequency laser to raise the optical peak power applied to the scattering medium and thereby collect more ultrasonically tagged photons. Moreover, when the detection of tagged photons is done with a photorefractive interferometer, the high optical peak power reduces the response time of the photorefractive crystal below the speckle field decorrelation time. Results obtained with a GaAs photorefractive interferometer are presented for 30- and 60-mm thick scattering media.
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