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Med Phys. 1994 Jul;21(7):1179-84.

Photoacoustic ultrasound: pulse production and detection of 0.5% Liposyn.

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  • 1Radiology Department, Indiana University Medical Center, Indianapolis 46202-5111.


Theoretical predictions and experimental measurements of photoacoustic pulse production within a 0.5% solution of Liposyn, a highly scattering, optical propagation medium, are reported. A simple model for photoacoustic energetics is developed that predicts photoacoustic signal pressure as a function of depth within a turbid medium following surface irradiation from an infrared source. The model is valid for very short irradiation duration. The model predicts that the acoustic pressure produced at a distance r from the center of a small, highly absorbing sphere of radius R consists of two, opposite polarity pulses, one originating from the near and one from the far side of the sphere. The magnitude of these biphasic pulses is expected to be proportional to the energy fluence (E) incident on the surface of the sphere and to the ratio, R/r. Furthermore, the energy fluence (E) that reaches the sphere is roughly proportional to e-mu effZ, where mu eff is the effective attenuation coefficient of the turbid medium and Z is the depth of the embedded sphere below the irradiated surface. The variation of E with depth within the absorber and biphasic acoustic pulse production have been verified experimentally. Further experiments demonstrate that a small (3-mm diameter), highly absorbing sphere can be detected and localized at a depth of 37.5 mm within a 0.5% solution of Liposyn with a spatial resolution of 1 x 6 mm2, using a biologically safe level of infrared irradiation (lambda = 1064 nm) and a conventional ultrasound transducer (frequency = 2.25 MHz). These results suggest that photoacoustic ultrasound imaging may have application to biologic systems such as the human breast.

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