With balanced spatial resolution, penetration depth, and imaging speed, photoacoustic computed tomography (PACT) is promising for clinical translation such as in breast cancer screening, functional brain imaging, and surgical guidance. Typically using a linear ultrasound (US) transducer array, PACT has great flexibility for hand-held applications. However, the linear US transducer array has a limited detection angle range and frequency bandwidth, resulting in limited-view and limited-bandwidth artifacts in the reconstructed PACT images. These artifacts significantly reduce the imaging quality. To address these issues, existing solutions often have to pay the price of system complexity, cost, and/or imaging speed. Here, we propose a deep-learning-based method that explores the Wasserstein generative adversarial network with gradient penalty (WGAN-GP) to reduce the limited-view and limited-bandwidth artifacts in PACT. Compared with existing reconstruction and convolutional neural network approach, our model has shown improvement in imaging quality and resolution. Our results on simulation, phantom, and in vivo data have collectively demonstrated the feasibility of applying WGAN-GP to improve PACT’s image quality without any modification to the current imaging set-up.
This study has the following main impacts. It offers a promising solution for removing limited-view and limited-bandwidth artifact in PACT using a linear-array transducer and conventional image reconstruction, which have long hindered its clinical translation. Our solution shows unprecedented artifact removal ability for in vivo image, which may enable important applications such as imaging tumor angiogenesis and hypoxia. The study reports, for the first time, the use of an advanced deep-learning model based on stabilized generative adversarial network. Our results have demonstrated its superiority over other state-of-the-art deep-learning methods.