Bond-selective photoacoustic imaging by converting molecular vibration into acoustic waves

Jie Hui, Rui Li, Evan H. Phillips, Craig J. Goergen, Michael Sturek, Ji Xin Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The quantized vibration of chemical bonds provides a way of detecting specific molecules in a complex tissue environment. Unlike pure optical methods, for which imaging depth is limited to a few hundred micrometers by significant optical scattering, photoacoustic detection of vibrational absorption breaks through the optical diffusion limit by taking advantage of diffused photons and weak acoustic scattering. Key features of this method include both high scalability of imaging depth from a few millimeters to a few centimeters and chemical bond selectivity as a novel contrast mechanism for photoacoustic imaging. Its biomedical applications spans detection of white matter loss and regeneration, assessment of breast tumor margins, and diagnosis of vulnerable atherosclerotic plaques. This review provides an overview of the recent advances made in vibration-based photoacoustic imaging and various biomedical applications enabled by this new technology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-21
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Intravascular photoacoustic
  • Lipid
  • Overtone absorption
  • Photoacoustic microscopy
  • Photoacoustic tomography
  • Tumor margin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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