Progress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
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Photoacoustic imaging (PAI) has been proposed as a non-invasive technique for imaging neonatal brain injury. Since PAI combines many of the merits of both optical and ultrasound imaging, images with high contrast, high resolution, and a greater penetration depth can be obtained when compared to more traditional optical methods. However, due to the strong attenuation and reflection of photoacoustic pressure waves at the skull bone, PAI of the brain is much more challenging than traditional methods (e.g. near infrared spectroscopy) for optical interrogation of the neonatal brain. To evaluate the potential limits the skull places on 3D PAI of the neonatal brain, we constructed a neonatal skull phantom (1.4-mm thick) with a mixture of epoxy and titanium dioxide powder that provided acoustic insertion loss (1-5MHz) similar to human infant skull bone. The phantom was molded into a realistic infant skull shape by means of a CNCmachined mold that was based upon a 3D CAD model. To evaluate the effect of the skull bone on PAI, a photoacoustic point source was raster scanned within the phantom brain cavity to capture the imaging operator of the 3D PAI system (128 ultrasound transducers in a hemispherical arrangement) with and without the intervening skull phantom. The resultant imaging operators were compared to determine the effect of the skull layer on the PA signals in terms of amplitude loss and time delay. © 2013 Copyright SPIE.