Optical microscopy remains a major workhorse in biological discovery despite the fact that light scattering limits its applicability to depths of ∼ 1 mm in scattering tissues. Optoacoustic imaging has been shown to overcome this barrier by resolving optical absorption with microscopic resolution in significantly deeper regions. Yet, the time domain is paramount for the observation of biological dynamics in living systems that exhibit fast motion. Commonly, acquisition of microscopy data involves raster scanning across the imaged volume, which significantly limits temporal resolution in 3D. To overcome these limitations, we have devised a fast optoacoustic micro-tomography (OMT) approach based on simultaneous acquisition of 3D image data with a high-density hemispherical ultrasound array having effective detection bandwidth around 25 MHz. We performed experiments by imaging tissue-mimicking phantoms and zebrafish larvae, demonstrating that OMT can provide nearly cellular resolution and imaging speed of 100 volumetric frames per second. As opposed to other optical microscopy techniques, OMT is a hybrid method that resolves optical absorption contrast acoustically using unfocused light excitation. Thus, no penetration barriers are imposed by light scattering in deep tissues, suggesting it as a powerful approach for multi-scale functional and molecular imaging applications.
X. Luís Deán-Ben, Hernán López-Schier, and Daniel Razansky, "High-frame-rate imaging of biological samples with optoacoustic micro-tomography," Proc. SPIE 10494, Photons Plus Ultrasound: Imaging and Sensing 2018, 104940R (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 29, 2018; Published: 19 February 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2290315.
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