Thermoacoustic molecular imaging of small animals

Robert A. Kruger, William L. Kiser, Daniel R. Reinecke, Gabe A. Kruger, Kathy D. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

202 Scopus citations


We have designed, constructed, and tested a thermoacoustic computed tomography (TCT) scanner for imaging optical absorption in small animals in three dimensions. The device utilizes pulsed laser irradiation (680-1064 nm) and a unique, 128-element transducer array. We quantified the isotropic spatial resolution of this scanner to be 0.35 mm. We describe a dual-wavelength substraction technique for isolating optical dyes with TCT. Phantom experiments demonstrate that we can detect 5 fmol of a near-infrared dye (indocyanine green, ICG) in a 1-μL volume using dual-wavelength subtraction. Initial TCT imaging in phantoms and in two sacrificed mice suggests that three-dimensional, optical absorption patterns in small animals can be detected with an order of magnitude better spatial resolution and an order of magnitude better low-contrast detectability in small animals when compared to fluorescence imaging or diffusion optical tomography.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-123
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Imaging
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2003


  • Flourescence
  • Optical imaging
  • Optoacoustics
  • Photoacoustics
  • Thermoacoustics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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    Kruger, R. A., Kiser, W. L., Reinecke, D. R., Kruger, G. A., & Miller, K. D. (2003). Thermoacoustic molecular imaging of small animals. Molecular Imaging, 2(2), 113-123.