The measurement of optical contrasts within thick biological tissues can be performed with the hybrid technique of acousto-optic imaging, but it has been shown that an acquisition rate in the 1 - 10kHz range is required for a good efficiency. This comes from the interferometric nature of the signal, blurred by speckle decorrelation in a time τc, due to a decrease of the speckle pattern contrast at the exit of the sample. An holographic setup that associates a fast and large area single photodetector and a photorefractive crystal, can measure in real-time the acousto-optic signal: this is the so-called self-adaptive wavefront holography technique. Nevertheless, it is essential to size the photorefractive response time (τPR) of the crystal with τc in order to optimize the signal-to-noise ratio of the measurement. This time mainly depends on the overall light intensity within the crystal. We have developed an original in situ method to determine τPR with the combination of acoustic pulses and a frequency de-tuning of the reference beam. We can measure precisely this time but also monitor it according to a theoretical model that we have previously described. We are able to adapt the response time of the setup to the decorrelation time of the medium under study.
©2007 Optical Society of America
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