Sound Out the Deep Colors: Photoacoustic Molecular Imaging at New Depths.
Photoacoustic tomography (PAT) has become increasingly popular for molecular imaging due to its unique optical absorption contrast, high spatial resolution, deep imaging depth, and high imaging speed. Yet, the strong optical attenuation of biological tissues has traditionally prevented PAT from penetrating more than a few centimeters and limited its application for studying deeply seated targets. A variety of PAT technologies have been developed to extend the imaging depth, including employing deep-penetrating microwaves and X-ray photons as excitation sources, delivering the light to the inside of the organ, reshaping the light wavefront to better focus into scattering medium, as well as improving the sensitivity of ultrasonic transducers. At the same time, novel optical fluence mapping algorithms and image reconstruction methods have been developed to improve the quantitative accuracy of PAT, which is crucial to recover weak molecular signals at larger depths. The development of highly-absorbing near-infrared PA molecular probes has also flourished to provide high sensitivity and specificity in studying cellular processes. This review aims to introduce the recent developments in deep PA molecular imaging, including novel imaging systems, image processing methods and molecular probes, as well as their representative biomedical applications. Existing challenges and future directions are also discussed.
Li, M; Nyayapathi, N; Kilian, HI; Xia, J; Lovell, JF; Yao, J
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