Optoacoustic (photoacoustic) mesoscopic and microscopic imaging is often implemented by linearly scanning a spherically focused ultrasound transducer. In this case, the resolution and sensitivity along the scan direction are limited by diffraction and therefore degrade rapidly for imaging depths away from the focal point. Partial restoration of the lost resolution can be achieved by using data-processing techniques, such as the virtual detector delay-and-sum method. However, these techniques are based on an approximate description of the detector properties, which limits the improvement in image quality they achieve. Herein we propose a reconstruction method based on an exact model of the optoacoustic generation and propagation that incorporates the spatial response of the sensor. The proposed method shows superior imaging performance over previously considered techniques.
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