Vulnerable plaques are the major cause of cardiovascular disease, but they are difficult to detect with conventional intravascular imaging techniques. Techniques are needed to identify plaque vulnerability based on the presence of lipids in plaque. Thermal strain imaging (TSI) is an imaging technique based on ultrasound (US) wave propagation speed, which varies with the medium temperature. In TSI, the strain that occurs during tissue temperature change can be used for lipid detection because it has a different tendency depending on the type of tissue. Here, we demonstrate photothermal strain imaging (pTSI) using an intravascular ultrasound catheter. pTSI is performed by slightly and selectively heating lipid using a relatively inexpensive continuous laser source. We applied a speckle-tracking algorithm to US B-mode images for strain calculations. As a result, the strain produced in porcine fat was different from the strain produced in water-bearing gelatin phantom, which made it possible to distinguish the two. This suggests that pTSI could potentially be a way of differentiating lipids in coronary artery.