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3 March 2014 All-optical photoacoustic microscopy (AOPAM) system for remote characterization of biological tissues
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Conventional photoacoustic microscopy (PAM) employs light pulses to produce a photoacoustic (PA) effect and detects the resulting acoustic waves using an ultrasound transducer acoustically coupled to the target. The resolution of conventional PAM is limited by the sensitivity and bandwidth of the ultrasound transducer. We investigated a versatile, all-optical PAM (AOPAM) system for characterizing in vivo as well as ex vivo biological specimens. The system employs non-contact interferometric detection of PA signals that overcomes limitations of conventional PAM. A 532-nm pump laser with a pulse duration of 5 ns excites the PA effect in tissue. Resulting acoustic waves produce surface displacements that are sensed using a 532-nm continuous-wave (CW) probe laser in a Michelson interferometer with a 1- GHz bandwidth. The pump and probe beams are coaxially focused using a 50X objective giving a diffraction-limited spot size of 0.48 μm. The phase-encoded probe beam is demodulated using homodyne methods. The detected timedomain signal is time reversed using k-space wave-propagation methods to produce a spatial distribution of PA sources in the target tissue. A minimum surface-displacement sensitivity of 0.19 pm was measured. PA-induced surface displacements are very small; therefore, they impose stringent detection requirements and determine the feasibility of implementing an all-optical PAM in biomedical applications. 3D PA images of ex vivo porcine retina specimens were generated successfully. We believe the AOPAM system potentially is well suited for assessing retinal diseases and other near-surface biomedical applications such as sectionless histology and evaluation of skin burns and pressure or friction ulcers.
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Ashwin Sampathkumar, Parag V. Chitnis, and Ronald H. Silverman "All-optical photoacoustic microscopy (AOPAM) system for remote characterization of biological tissues", Proc. SPIE 8943, Photons Plus Ultrasound: Imaging and Sensing 2014, 89432Y (3 March 2014);

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