Photoacoustic microscopy (PAM) has been extensively applied in biomedical study because of its ability to visualize tissue morphology and physiology in vivo in three dimensions (3D). However, conventional PAM suffers from a rapidly decreasing resolution away from the focal plane because of the limited depth of focus of an objective lens, which deteriorates the volumetric imaging quality inevitably. Here, we propose a novel method to synthesize an ultra-long light needle to extend a microscope’s depth of focus beyond its physical limitations with wavefront engineering method. Furthermore, it enables an improved lateral resolution that exceeds the diffraction limit of the objective lens. The virtual light needle can be flexibly synthesized anywhere throughout the imaging volume without mechanical scanning. Benefiting from these advantages, we developed a synthetic light needle photoacoustic microscopy (SLN-PAM) to achieve an extended depth of field (DOF), sub-diffraction and motionless volumetric imaging. The DOF of our SLN-PAM system is up to 1800 µm, more than 30-fold improvement over that gained by conventional PAM. Our system also achieves the lateral resolution of 1.8 µm (characterized at 532 nm and 0.1 NA objective), about 50% higher than the Rayleigh diffraction limit. Its superior imaging performance was demonstrated by 3D imaging of both non-biological and biological samples. This extended DOF, sub-diffraction and motionless 3D PAM will open up new opportunities for potential biomedical applications.
Jiamiao Yang, Lei Gong, Xiao Xu, Pengfei Hai, Yuta Suzuki, and Lihong V. Wang, "Synthetic light-needle photoacoustic microscopy for extended depth of field (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10064, Photons Plus Ultrasound: Imaging and Sensing 2017, 1006428 (Presented at SPIE BiOS: February 01, 2017; Published: 24 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2256082.5379284516001.
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