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During the last decade, a new modality called photoacoustic imaging has emerged. The increasing interest for this new modality is due to the fact that it combines advantages of ultrasound and optical imaging, i.e. the high contrast due to optical absorption and the low acoustic attenuation in biological tissues. It is thus possible to study vascularization because blood has high optical absorption coefficient. Papers in the literature often focus on applications and rarely discuss quantitative parameters. The goal of this paper is to provide quantitative elements to design an acquisition setup. By defining the targeted resolution and penetration depth, it is then possible to evaluate which kind of excitation and reception systems have to be used. First, we recall theoretical background related to photoacoustic effect before to describe the experiments based on a nanosecond laser at 1064 nm and 2.25-5 MHz transducers. Second, we present results about the relation linking fluence laser to signal amplitude and axial and lateral resolutions of our acquisition setup. We verify the linear relation between fluence and amplitude before to estimate axial resolution at 550 μm for a 2.25 MHz ultrasonic transducer. Concerning lateral resolution, we show that a reconstruction technique based on curvilinear acquisition of 30 lines improves it by a factor of 3 compared to a lateral displacement. Future works will include improvement of lateral resolution using probes, like in ultrasound imaging, instead of single-element transducers.
Date of Conference: Aug. 30 2011-Sept. 3 2011