We propose a hybrid approach to image enhancement in acoustic resolution photoacoustic microscopy. The developed technique is based on compensation for nonuniform spatial sensitivity of the optoacoustic (OA) system in both optical and acoustic domains. Spatial distribution of optical fluence is derived from full three-dimensional Monte Carlo simulations accounting for conical geometry of tissue laser illumination at the wavelength of 532 nm. Approximate nonuniform spatial response of acoustic detector with numerical aperture of 0.6 is derived from the two-dimensional k-Wave modeling. Application of the developed technique allows to improve the spatial resolution and to balance in-depth signal-level distribution in OA images of phantom and in-vivo objects.
We provide direct experimental comparison of the optoacoustic imaging performance of two different 64-element linear detector array (LDA) units based on polyvinylidene difluoride (PVDF) films. The first LDA unit was based on traditional flexible circuit (FC) technology and consisted of an FC glued to the nonmetalized signal surface of a 28-μm-thick PVDF film providing 300 / 80-μm axial resolution/lateral resolution (AR/LR) and 0.4-kPa noise equivalent pressure of its single element. The other LDA unit was manufactured using a technology of low-temperature photolithographic etching (PE) of a signal electrode onto a 25-μm-thick PVDF film providing 300 / 40-μm AR/LR and 1 kPa noise equivalent pressure. As compared with a previously reported LDA unit based on a 100-μm PVDF thick film, the main advantage of using the thinner PVDF films was 10-fold improvement in axial resolution, whereas the main drawback was 10-fold increased noise equivalent pressure. In terms of in vivo imaging performance, higher bandwidth of PE LDA probe was more important than the higher sensitivity of FC LDA unit.
Non-invasive measurement of blood oxygen saturation in blood vessels is a promising clinical application of optoacoustic imaging. However, unknown spatial and spectral distribution of optical fluence within biotissue challenges precise multispectral optoacoustic measurements of blood oxygen saturation. The accuracy of the blood oxygen saturation measurement can be improved by the choice of optimal laser wavelengths. We propose the numerical approach to determine the optimal wavelengths for two-wavelengths OA measurements of blood oxygen saturation at various depths. The developed approach accounts for acoustic pressure noise, error in determination of optical scattering and absorption coefficients used for the calculation of the optical fluence, and diameter of the investigated blood vessel. We demonstrate that in case of an unknown (or partially known) fluence spatial distribution at depths between 2 and 8 mm, minimal error in the determination of blood oxygen saturation is achieved at the wavelengths of 658±40 nm and 1069±40 nm. We report on the pilot results of OA <i>in vivo</i> measurements of blood oxygen saturation using optimal wavelengths obtained by the proposed approach.