Photoacoustic Tomography of Neural Systems
Neuroscience has become one of the most exciting contemporary research areas with major breakthroughs expected in the coming decades. Modern imaging techniques have enabled scientific understanding of the neural system by revealing anatomical, functional, metabolic, and molecular information about the brain. Among these techniques, photoacoustic tomography (PAT), drawing more and more attention, is playing an increasingly important role in brain studies, thanks to its rich optical absorption contrast, high spatiotemporal resolution, and deep penetration. More importantly, PAT’s unique scalability empowers neuroscientists to examine the brain at multiple spatial scales using the same contrast mechanism, bridging microscopic insights to macroscopic observations of the brain. In this chapter, we review the principles of PAT, present the major implementations, and summarize the representative neuroscience applications. We also discuss challenges in translating PAT to human brain imaging and envision its potential promise.