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Reflection-mode acousto-optic imaging using plane wave ultrasound pulses
Journal of Biomedical Optics  (IF3.17),  Pub Date : 2021-09-01, DOI: 10.1117/1.jbo.26.9.096001
Lukasz J. Nowak, Wiendelt Steenbergen

Significance: Performance of an acousto-optic imaging system is limited by light fluence rate and acoustic pressure field distributions characteristics. In optically scattering media, the former determines the achievable contrast, whereas the latter the imaging resolution. The system parameters can be shaped by changing relative positions of ultrasound (US) transducer array and optodes. However, in the case of many potential clinical applications, optimization possibilities in this regard are limited, as a sample is accessible from one side only and using a water tank for coupling is not feasible. Aim: We investigate the possibilities of improving performance of an acousto-optic imaging system operating in reflection mode geometry with linear US array in direct contact with a sample using plane wave instead of focused US pulses. Approach: Differences in acoustic pressure field distributions for various transducer excitation patterns were determined numerically and experimentally. Acousto-optic images of phantoms with and without optically absorbing inclusions were acquired by measuring laser speckle contrast decrease due to the light modulation by plane wave and focused US pulses with different apodization patterns. Results: The residual acoustic pressure field components occupy relatively large volume and contribute to light modulation. Using nonsteered plane wave US pulses instead of focused ones allows one to mitigate their influence. It also allows one to obtain clear two-dimensional reconstructions of light fluence rate maps by shifting transducer apodization along the lateral direction. Conclusions: Using nonsteered plane wave US pulses allows one to achieve better imaging performance than with focused pulses in the assumed system geometry.