A miniature (175 μm) all-optical photoacoustic probe has been developed for minimally invasive sensing and imaging applications. The probe comprises a single optical fibre which delivers the excitation light and a broadband 50 MHz Fabry-Pérot (F-P) ultrasound sensor at the distal end for detecting the photoacoustic waves. A graded index lens proximal to the F-P sensor is used to reduce beam walk-off and thus increase sensitivity as well as confine the excitation beam in order to increase lateral spatial resolution. The probe was evaluated in non-scattering media and found to provide lateral and axial resolutions of < 100 μm and < 150 μm respectively for distances up to 1 cm from the tip of the probe. The ability of the probe to detect a blood vessel mimicking phantom at distances up to 7 mm from the tip was demonstrated in order to illustrate its potential suitability for needle guidance applications.
Sunish J. Mathews, Edward Z. Zhang, Adrien E. Desjardins, and Paul C. Beard, "Miniature fibre optic probe for minimally invasive photoacoustic sensing," Proc. SPIE 9708, Photons Plus Ultrasound: Imaging and Sensing 2016, 97082R (Presented at SPIE BiOS: February 17, 2016; Published: 18 March 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2211661.
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