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J Biomed Opt. 2003 Apr;8(2):264-72.

Optoacoustic determination of optical attenuation depth using interferometric detection.

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  • 1Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


We use a modified Mach-Zehnder interferometer to measure surface displacement resulting from the thermoelastic response of a target to the absorption of a short laser pulse with axial and temporal resolutions of 0.1 nm and 3 ns, respectively. These measurements are used in conjunction with a solution to the thermoelastic wave equation and a nonlinear optimization algorithm to extract optical attenuation depth. We demonstrate the ability to determine the effective optical attenuation depth of homogeneous targets with either diffuse or specular reflecting surfaces with a precision of <or=4% for attenuation depths spanning 0.1 to 2 mm.

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