Influence of acoustic inhomogeneities and resulting reflection artifacts is an important problem in reflection-mode photoacoustic imaging. Absorption of light by skin and superficial optical absorbers will generate photoacoustic transients, which traverse into the tissue and get reflected from structures having different acoustic impedance. These reflected photoacoustic signals, when reconstructed, may appear in the region of interest, which causes difficulties in image interpretation. We propose a novel method to identify and potentially eliminate reflection artifacts in photoacoustic images using photoacoustic-guided focused ultrasound [PAFUSion]. Our method uses focused ultrasound pulses to mimic the wave field produced by photoacoustic sources and thus provides a way to identify reflection artifacts in clinical combined photoacoustic and pulse-echo ultrasound. Simulation and phantom results are presented to demonstrate the validity and impact of this method. Results show that PAFUSion can identify reflections in photoacoustic images and thus envisages potential for improving photoacoustic imaging of acoustically inhomogeneous tissue.
- Imaging depth