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Nat Protoc. 2007;2(4):797-804.

In vivo imaging of subcutaneous structures using functional photoacoustic microscopy.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri 63130, USA.


Functional photoacoustic microscopy (fPAM) is a hybrid technology that permits noninvasive imaging of the optical absorption contrast in subcutaneous biological tissues. fPAM uses a focused ultrasonic transducer to detect high-frequency photoacoustic (PA) signals. Volumetric images of biological tissues can be formed by two-dimensional raster scanning, and functional parameters can be further extracted from spectral measurements. fPAM is safe and applicable to animals as well as humans. This protocol provides guidelines for parameter selection, system alignment, imaging operation, laser safety and data processing for in vivo fPAM. It currently takes approximately 100 min to carry out this protocol, including approximately 50 min for data acquisition using a 10-Hz pulse-repetition-rate laser system. The data acquisition time, however, can be significantly reduced by using a laser system with a higher pulse repetition rate.

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