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Micromachines (Basel). 2019 Nov 27;10(12). pii: E820. doi: 10.3390/mi10120820.

Characterization of a Fiber Bundle-Based Real-Time Ultrasound/Photoacoustic Imaging System and Its In Vivo Functional Imaging Applications.

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Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Nanomedicine, National Health Research Institutes, Zhunan Township, Miaoli County 35053, Taiwan.
Department of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering, Chung Yuan Christian University, Chung Li District, Taoyuan City 32023, Taiwan.
Fiberoptics Technology Inc., Pomfret, CT 06258, USA.
Department of Biomedical Engineering, National Yang Ming University, Taipei 112, Taiwan.
Department of Biological Science and Technology, National Chiao Tung University, Hsinchu 300, Taiwan.
National Institute of Cancer Research, National Health Research Institutes, Zhunan Township, Miaoli County 35053, Taiwan.


Photoacoustic (PA) imaging is an attractive technology for imaging biological tissues because it can capture both functional and structural information with satisfactory spatial resolution. Current commercially available PA imaging systems are limited by their bulky size or inflexible user interface. We present a new handheld real-time ultrasound/photoacoustic imaging system (HARP) consisting of a detachable, high-numerical-aperture (NA) fiber bundle-based illumination system integrated with an array-based ultrasound (US) transducer and a data acquisition platform. In this system, different PA probes can be used for different imaging applications by switching the transducers and the corresponding jackets to combine the fiber pads and transducer into a single probe. The intuitive user interface is a completely programmable MATLAB-based platform. In vitro phantom experiments were conducted to test the imaging performance of the developed PA system. Furthermore, we demonstrated (1) in vivo brain vasculature imaging, (2) in vivo imaging of real-time stimulus-evoked cortical hemodynamic changes during forepaw electrical stimulation, and (3) in vivo imaging of real-time cerebral pharmacokinetics in rats using the developed PA system. The overall purpose of this design concept for a customizable US/PA imaging system is to help overcome the diverse challenges faced by medical researchers performing both preclinical and clinical PA studies.


fiber bundle-based illumination; hemoglobin oxygenation saturation; in vivo imaging; photoacoustic (PA); ultrasound (US)

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