High frequency ultrasound probes such as intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) and intracardiac echocardiography (ICE) catheters can be invaluable for guiding minimally invasive medical procedures in cardiology such as coronary stent placement and ablation. With current-generation ultrasound probes, ultrasound is generated and received electrically. The complexities involved with fabricating these electrical probes can result in high costs that limit their clinical applicability. Additionally, it can be challenging to achieve wide transmission bandwidths and adequate wideband reception sensitivity with small piezoelectric elements. Optical methods for transmitting and receiving ultrasound are emerging as alternatives to their electrical counterparts. They offer several distinguishing advantages, including the potential to generate and detect the broadband ultrasound fields (tens of MHz) required for high resolution imaging. In this study, we developed a miniature, side-looking, pulse-echo ultrasound probe for intravascular imaging, with fibre-optic transmission and reception. The axial resolution was better than 70 microns, and the imaging depth in tissue was greater than 1 cm. Ultrasound transmission was performed by photoacoustic excitation of a carbon nanotube/polydimethylsiloxane composite material; ultrasound reception, with a fibre-optic Fabry-Perot cavity. Ex vivo tissue studies, which included healthy swine tissue and diseased human tissue, demonstrated the strong potential of this technique. To our knowledge, this is the first study to achieve an all-optical pulse-echo ultrasound probe for intravascular imaging. The potential for performing all-optical B-mode imaging (2D and 3D) with virtual arrays of transmit/receive elements, and hybrid imaging with pulse-echo ultrasound and photoacoustic sensing are discussed.
Richard J. Colchester, Sacha Noimark, Charles A. Mosse, Edward Z. Zhang, Paul C. Beard, Ivan P Parkin, Ioannis Papakonstantinou, and Adrien E. Desjardins, "All-optical pulse-echo ultrasound probe for intravascular imaging (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 9689, Photonic Therapeutics and Diagnostics XII, 96893I (Presented at SPIE BiOS: February 14, 2016; Published: 27 April 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2213757.4828028229001.
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