Nano and Microelectronics Enhance Imaging Technology
Photoacoustic Imaging can rapidly produce three-dimensional images for diagnosis of diseases such as atherosclerosis and cancer. Stanfordâ€™s Professor Butrus Pierre Khuri-Yakub and other researchers are developing innovations to deliver Photoacoustic imagingâ€™s (PAI) full potential as a sensitive and safe multipurpose imaging tool.
Researchers shine bursts of infrared laser light on a sample and the light diffuses into the sample and heats inside just a fraction of a degree. As the sample is heated they expand. When the laser pulse stops the sample contracts while cooling. The expansions and contractions produce shockwaves, which are also sound waves (high-frequency). The sounds are found by a detector. The detector send those signals to a computer which, based on the patterns of emitted sound, produces an image.
Compared to other diagnostic imaging technologies, PAI has very high resolution-- perhaps as much as hundreds of millionths of a meter, produces a very clear image and can penetrate as deep as 3 centimeters below the skin and is seems to be quite safe.