Photoacoustic microscopy (PAM) has remained one of the fastest developing biomedical imaging modalities in the past decade. The confocal strategy of optical illumination and acoustic detection is a way to boost the sensitivity of PAM. To achieve confocal PAM, current PAM systems utilize separate acoustic and optical converging devices, making the systems bulky and complicated. In this Letter, we demonstrate the use of a single-liquid lens to successfully achieve acoustic and optical confocal configuration for optical-resolution PAM (ORPAM). Using the lens with a numerical aperture of 0.43, we show that the resolution of the ORPAM system is 4.8 μm with a significantly improved sensitivity of acoustic detection. We also apply this compact ORPAM system to in vivo imaging of the vasculature of a rat ear.
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