Abstract

Recently demonstrated bond-selective photoacoustic (PA) imaging has revealed the importance of 1.7 μm laser sources. In this Letter, we demonstrate a gain-switched thulium-doped fiber laser with continuous tuning from 1690 to 1765 nm by using an electrically driven acousto-optical tunable filter. Micro-joule laser pulses with a shot-to-shot intensity variation of 1.6% and a pulse duration of 150 ns are obtained. The laser source is then harnessed to implement a PA microscopy system, of which the lateral resolution is estimated to be 15.6 μm by scanning the edge of a black tape. The PA spectra of butter, rapeseed oil, and adipose tissue are measured, and they show a consistent absorption peak of around 1720 nm. Photoacoustic microscopy imaging of the adipose tissue demonstrates a high optical absorption contrast of lipids and the superiority of the laser for spectroscopic PA detection.

© 2018 Optical Society of America

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