Tissue-mimicking phantoms are widely used for the calibration, evaluation and standardisation of medical imaging systems, and for clinical training. For photoacoustic imaging, tissue-mimicking materials (TMMs) that have tuneable optical and acoustic properties, high stability, and mechanical robustness are highly desired. In this study, gel wax is introduced as a TMM that satisfies these criteria for developing photoacoustic imaging phantoms. The reduced scattering and optical absorption coefficients were independently tuned with the addition of TiO2 and oil-based inks. The frequency-dependent acoustic attenuation obeyed a power law; for native gel wax, it varied from 0.71 dB/cm at 3 MHz to 9.93 dB/cm at 12 MHz. The chosen oil-based inks, which have different optical absorption spectra in the range of 400 to 900 nm, were found to have good photostability under pulsed illumination with photoacoustic excitation light. Optically heterogeneous phantoms that comprised of inclusions with different concentrations of carbon black and coloured inks were fabricated, and multispectral photoacoustic imaging was performed with an optical parametric oscillator and a planar Fabry-Pérot sensor. We conclude that gel wax is well suited as a TMM for multispectral photoacoustic imaging.

Original languageEnglish
Article number#309069
Pages (from-to)1151-1163
Number of pages13
JournalBiomedical Optics Express
Issue number3
Early online date15 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


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