Diffraction causes blurring of high-resolution features in images and has been traditionally associated to the resolution limit in light microscopy and other imaging modalities. The resolution of an imaging system can be generally assessed via its point spread function, corresponding to the image acquired from a point source. However, the precision in determining the position of an isolated source can greatly exceed the diffraction limit. By combining the estimated positions of multiple sources, localization-based imaging has resulted in groundbreaking methods such as super-resolution fluorescence optical microscopy and has also enabled ultrasound imaging of microvascular structures with unprecedented spatial resolution in deep tissues. Herein, we introduce localization optoacoustic tomography (LOT) and discuss on the prospects of using localization imaging principles in optoacoustic imaging. LOT was experimentally implemented by real-time imaging of flowing particles in 3D with a recently-developed volumetric optoacoustic tomography system. Provided the particles were separated by a distance larger than the diffraction-limited resolution, their individual locations could be accurately determined in each frame of the acquired image sequence and the localization image was formed by superimposing a set of points corresponding to the localized positions of the absorbers. The presented results demonstrate that LOT can significantly enhance the well-established advantages of optoacoustic imaging by breaking the acoustic diffraction barrier in deep tissues and mitigating artifacts due to limited-view tomographic acquisitions.
X. Luís Deán-Ben and Daniel Razansky, "Breaking the acoustic diffraction barrier with localization optoacoustic tomography," Proc. SPIE 10494, Photons Plus Ultrasound: Imaging and Sensing 2018, 104941X (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 30, 2018; Published: 19 February 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2290339.
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