Photoacoustic imaging is based on detecting laser pulse induced ultrasound transients from absorbing structures in tissue. The technique combines the advantages of a high optical absorption exhibited by tumors for example with the high resolution possible with ultrasound. A conventional photoacoustic imager operating in a CT geometry comprises a light source, an ultrasound detector array and a coupling medium usually water between the subject under investigation and detector. The imaging protocol usually consists of obtaining projections at angles around the subject. Recently we reported a method of measuring the local speed-of-sound variations by the addition of an absorber to the conventional imager, arranged between the light source and subject. This generates an ultrasound signal which interacts with the subject which can then be detected at the far-end by the detector. This allows the measurement of the integrated speed-of-sound (SOS) at projections around the subject leading to the formation of SOS images. In this article we discuss further analysis of the ultrasound obtained at projections to obtain images of the acoustic attenuation as well. In addition conventional photoacoustic images of the subject are also formed. The principle is demonstrated on well-characterized phantoms and we discuss the potential applications of this technique.
Manohar, S., Willemink, R., van Hespen, J. C. G., & van Leeuwen, T. (2008). Hybrid photoacoustic - ultrasound transmission parameter imaging in a miniature photoacoustic imager. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 123(5), 3371-. https://doi.org/10.1121/1.2933991