Photoacoustic tomography: principles and advances.
Photoacoustic tomography (PAT) is an emerging imaging modality that shows great potential for preclinical research and clinical practice. As a hybrid technique, PAT is based on the acoustic detection of optical absorption from either endogenous chromophores, such as oxy-hemoglobin and deoxy-hemoglobin, or exogenous contrast agents, such as organic dyes and nanoparticles. Because ultrasound scatters much less than light in tissue, PAT generates high-resolution images in both the optical ballistic and diffusive regimes. Over the past decade, the photoacoustic technique has been evolving rapidly, leading to a variety of exciting discoveries and applications. This review covers the basic principles of PAT and its different implementations. Strengths of PAT are highlighted, along with the most recent imaging results.
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