Suite of 3D test objects for performance assessment of hybrid photoacoustic-ultrasound breast imaging systems

Maura Dantuma*, Saskia C. Kruitwagen, Marlies J. Weggemans, Tim J.P.M. Op't Root, Srirang Manohar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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SIGNIFICANCE: During the development and early testing phases of new photoacoustic (PA) breast imaging systems, several choices need to be made in aspects of system design and measurement sequences. Decision-making can be complex for state-of-the-art systems such as 3D hybrid photoacoustic-ultrasound (PA-US) breast imagers intended for multispectral quantitative imaging. These systems have a large set of design choices and system settings that affect imaging performance in different ways and often require trade-offs. Decisions have to be made carefully as they can strongly influence the imaging performance.

AIM: A systematic approach to assess the influence of various choices on the imaging performance in carefully controlled laboratory situations is crucial before starting with human studies. Test objects and phantoms are used for first imaging studies, but most reported structures have a 2D geometry and are not suitable to assess all the image quality characteristics (IQCs) of 3D hybrid PA-US systems.

APPROACH: Our work introduces a suite of five test objects designed for hybrid PA-US systems with a 3D detection aperture. We present the test object designs and production protocols and explain how they can be used to study various performance measures. To demonstrate the utility of the developed objects, measurements are made with an existing tomographic PA system.

RESULTS: Two test objects were developed for measurements of the US detectors' impulse responses and light distribution on the breast surface. Three others were developed to assess image quality and quantitative accuracy of the PA and US modes. Three of the five objects were imaged to demonstrate their use.

CONCLUSIONS: The developed test objects allow one to study influences of various choices in design and system settings. With this, IQCs can be assessed as a function of measurement sequence settings for the PA and US modes in a controlled way. Systematic studies and measurements using these objects will help to optimize various system settings and measurement protocols in laboratory situations before embarking on human studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number074709
JournalJournal of biomedical optics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 9 Dec 2021


  • breast imaging
  • image quality assessment
  • phantoms
  • photoacoustic imaging
  • test objects
  • ultrasound imaging
  • UT-Gold-D


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