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Opt Express. 2012 Jan 30;20(3):3082-90. doi: 10.1364/OE.20.003082.

Enhancement of photoacoustic image quality by sound speed correction: ex vivo evaluation.

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  • 1Department of Electronic Engineering, Sogang University, Seoul, South Korea.


Real-time photoacoustic (PA) imaging involves beamforming methods using an assumed fixed sound speed, typically 1540 m/s in soft tissue. This leads to degradation of PA image quality because the true sound speed changes as PA signal propagates through different types of soft tissues: the range from 1450 m/s to 1600 m/s. This paper proposes a new method for estimating an optimal sound speed to enhance the cross-sectional PA image quality. The optimal sound speed is determined when coherent factor with the sound speed is maximized. The proposed method was validated through simulation and ex vivo experiments with microcalcification-contained breast cancer specimen. The experimental results demonstrated that the best lateral resolution of PA images of microcalcifications can be achieved when the optimal sound speed is utilized.

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