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3 March 2014 Optical resolution photoacoustic microscopy using a Blu-ray DVD pickup head
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Optical resolution photoacoustic microscopy (OR-PAM) has been shown as a promising tool for label-free microvascular and single-cell imaging in clinical and bioscientific applications. However, most OR-PAM systems are realized by using a bulky laser for photoacoustic excitation. The large volume and high price of the laser may restrain the popularity of OR-PAM. In this study, we attempt to develop a compact, portable, and low cost OR-PAM based on a consumer Blu-ray (405 nm) DVD pickup head for label-free micro-vascular imaging and red-blood-cell related blood examination. According to the high optical absorption of the hemoglobin at 405 nm, the proposed OR-PAM has potential to be an alternative for the conventional optical microscopy in the examinations of hematological morphology for blood routine. We showed that the Blu-ray DVD pickup head owns the required laser energy and focusing optics for OR-PAM. The firmware of a Blu-ray DVD drive was modified to allow its pickup head to generate nano-second laser pulses with a tunable pulse repetition rate of >30 kHz and a tunable pulse width ranging from 10 to 30 ns. The laser beam was focused onto the target after passing through a transparent cover slide, and then aligned to be confocal with a 50-MHz focused ultrasonic transducer in forward mode. To keep the target on focus, a scan involving auto-tracking procedure was performed. The measured maximum achievable lateral resolution was 1 μm which was mainly limited by the minimum step size of the used motorized stage. A blood smear was imaged without any staining. The red blood cells were well resolved and the biconcave structure could be clearly visualized. In addition, to verify the in vivo imaging capability of the proposed OR-PAM, the micro-vasculature of a mouse ear was imaged without any contrast agent. The results showed that it performed better than a 200x digital optical microscope in terms of image contrast and vascular morphology. In summaries, the proposed OR-PAM has been demonstrated as a promising tool for label-free blood imaging in both small animal studies and blood examinations, and potentially can be a compact and low-cost OR-PAM platform.
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Meng-Lin Li and Po-Hsun Wang "Optical resolution photoacoustic microscopy using a Blu-ray DVD pickup head", Proc. SPIE 8943, Photons Plus Ultrasound: Imaging and Sensing 2014, 894315 (3 March 2014);

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