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Thermoacoustic tomography with integrating area and line detectors.

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Upper Austrian Research, Linz, Austria.


Thermoacoustic (optoacoustic, photoacoustic) tomography is based on the generation of acoustic waves by illumination of a sample with a short electromagnetic pulse. The absorption density inside the sample is reconstructed from the acoustic pressure measured outside the illuminated sample. So far measurement data have been collected with small detectors as approximations of point detectors. Here, a novel measurement setup applying integrating detectors (e.g., lines or planes made of piezoelectric films) is presented. That way, the pressure is integrated along one or two dimensions, enabling the use of numerically efficient algorithms, such as algorithms for the inverse radon transformation, for thermoacoustic tomography. To reconstruct a three-dimensional sample, either an area detector has to be moved tangential around a sphere that encloses the sample or an array of line detectors is rotated around a single axis. The line detectors can be focused on cross sections perpendicular to the rotation axis using a synthetic aperture (SAFT) or by scanning with a cylindrical lens detector. Measurements were made with piezoelectric polyvinylidene fluoride film detectors and evaluated by comparison with numerical simulations. The resolution achieved in the resulting tomography images is demonstrated on the example of the reconstructed cross section of a grape.

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