Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy


Medical Biophysics


Dr. Jeffrey Carson


Photoacoustic imaging is a modality that combines the benefits of two prominent imaging techniques; the strong contrast inherent to optical imaging techniques with the enhanced penetration depth and resolution of ultrasound imaging. PA waves are generated by illuminating a light-absorbing object with a short laser pulse. The deposited energy causes a pressure change in the object and, consequently, an outwardly propagating acoustic wave. Images are produced by using characteristic optical information contained within the waves.

We have developed a 3D PA imaging system by using a staring, sparse array approach to produce real-time PA images. The technique employs the use of a limited number of transducers and by solving a linear system model, 3D PA images are rendered.

In this thesis, the development of an omni-directional PA source is introduced as a method to characterize the shift-variant system response. From this foundation, a technique is presented to generate an experimental estimate of the imaging operator for a PA system. This allows further characterization of the object space by two techniques; the crosstalk matrix and singular value decomposition. Finally, the results of the singular value decomposition analysis coupled with the linear system model approach to image reconstruction, 3D PA images are produced at a frame rate of 0.7 Hz.

This approach to 3D PA imaging has provided the foundation for 3D PA images to be produced at frame rates limited only by the laser repetition rate, as straightforward system improvements could see the imaging process reduced to tens of milliseconds.