Pulsed photoacoustic flow imaging with a handheld system

P.J. van den Berg, Khalid Daoudi, Wiendelt Steenbergen

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Flow imaging is an important technique in a range of disease areas, but estimating low flow speeds, especially near the walls of blood vessels, remains challenging. Pulsed photoacoustic flow imaging can be an alternative since there is little signal contamination from background tissue with photoacoustic imaging. We propose flow imaging using a clinical photoacoustic system that is both handheld and portable. The system integrates a linear array with 7.5 MHz central frequency in combination with a high-repetition-rate diode laser to allow high-speed photoacoustic imaging—ideal for this application. This work shows the flow imaging performance of the system in vitro using microparticles. Both two-dimensional (2-D) flow images and quantitative flow velocities from 12 to 75  mm/s 75  mm/s were obtained. In a transparent bulk medium, flow estimation showed standard errors of ∼7% ∼7% the estimated speed; in the presence of tissue-realistic optical scattering, the error increased to 40% due to limited signal-to-noise ratio. In the future, photoacoustic flow imaging can potentially be performed in vivo using fluorophore-filled vesicles or with an improved setup on whole blood
Original languageEnglish
Article number026004
Pages (from-to)026004-
JournalJournal of biomedical optics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • METIS-315467
  • IR-100106


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