Processing methods for photoacoustic Doppler flowmetry with a clinical ultrasound scanner

Thore M. Bücking, Pim J. Van Den Berg, Stavroula Balabani, Wiendelt Steenbergen, Paul C. Beard, Joanna Brunker* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
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Photoacoustic flowmetry (PAF) based on time-domain cross correlation of photoacoustic signals is a promising technique for deep tissue measurement of blood flow velocity. Signal processing has previously been developed for single element transducers. Here, the processing methods for acoustic resolution PAF using a clinical ultrasound transducer array are developed and validated using a 64-element transducer array with a -6 dB detection band of 11 to 17 MHz. Measurements were performed on a flow phantom consisting of a tube (580 μm inner diameter) perfused with human blood flowing at physiological speeds ranging from 3 to 25 mm / s. The processing pipeline comprised: image reconstruction, filtering, displacement detection, and masking. High-pass filtering and background subtraction were found to be key preprocessing steps to enable accurate flow velocity estimates, which were calculated using a cross-correlation based method. In addition, the regions of interest in the calculated velocity maps were defined using a masking approach based on the amplitude of the cross-correlation functions. These developments enabled blood flow measurements using a transducer array, bringing PAF one step closer to clinical applicability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number026009
JournalJournal of biomedical optics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018


  • Cross correlation
  • Flowmetry
  • Image processing
  • Masking
  • Photoacoustic Doppler effect
  • Transducer array
  • Blood flow


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