Biomedical Photoacoustic Imaging and Sensing Using Affordable Resources

Mithun Kuniyil Ajith Singh, Wenfeng Xia

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)


The photoacoustic (PA) effect, also called the optoacoustic effect, was discovered in the 1880s by Alexander Graham Bell and has been utilized for biomedical imaging and sensing applications since the early 1990s [1]. In biomedical photoacoustic imaging, nanosecond‐pulsed or intensity‐modulated light illuminates tissue of interest, which when absorbed by intrinsic (such as hemoglobin, lipid) and extrinsic optical absorbers results in the generation of ultrasound (US) signals via thermoelastic expansion. These optically generated US signals can be detected on the tissue surface using conventional ultrasonic probes to generate the tissue’s optical absorption maps with high spatiotemporal resolution. PA imaging thus offers advantages of both US imaging (imaging depth, spatiotemporal resolution) and conventional optical imaging techniques (spectroscopic contrast), making it an ideal modality for structural, functional, and molecular characterization of tissue in situ. Moreover, since both PA and US imaging rely on acoustic detection, it is feasible to share the probe and data acquisition system to perform naturally co‐registered dual‐mode PA and US imaging with complementary contrast. Since US imaging is ubiquitous in clinics, such a dual‐mode approach is expected to facilitate accelerating the clinical translation of the PA imaging technique. Owing to all these advantages, PA imaging has been explored for myriads of preclinical and clinical applications and is undoubtedly one of the fastest‐growing biomedical imaging modalities of recent times. Even though PA imaging is matured in lab settings, clinical translation of this promising technique is not happening at an expected pace. One of the important reasons behind this is the costs of pulsed light sources and acoustic detection hardware. Affordability is undoubtedly an important factor to be considered in the following years to help translate PA imaging to clinics around the globe. This first‐ever Special Issue focused on biomedical PA imaging
and sensing using affordable resources is thus timely, especially considering the fact that this technique is facing an exciting transition from benchtop to bedside.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2572
Number of pages4
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 6 Apr 2021


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