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Objective Assessment and Design Improvement of a Staring, Sparse Transducer Array by the Spatial Crosstalk Matrix for 3D Photoacoustic Tomography

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      Accurate reconstruction of 3D photoacoustic (PA) images requires detection of photoacoustic signals from many angles. Several groups have adopted staring ultrasound arrays, but assessment of array performance has been limited. We previously reported on a method to calibrate a 3D PA tomography (PAT) staring array system and analyze system performance using singular value decomposition (SVD). The developed SVD metric, however, was impractical for large system matrices, which are typical of 3D PAT problems. The present study consisted of two main objectives. The first objective aimed to introduce the crosstalk matrix concept to the field of PAT for system design. Figures-of-merit utilized in this study were root mean square error, peak signal-to-noise ratio, mean absolute error, and a three dimensional structural similarity index, which were derived between the normalized spatial crosstalk matrix and the identity matrix. The applicability of this approach for 3D PAT was validated by observing the response of the figures-of-merit in relation to well-understood PAT sampling characteristics (i.e. spatial and temporal sampling rate). The second objective aimed to utilize the figures-of-merit to characterize and improve the performance of a near-spherical staring array design. Transducer arrangement, array radius, and array angular coverage were the design parameters examined. We observed that the performance of a 129-element staring transducer array for 3D PAT could be improved by selection of optimal values of the design parameters. The results suggested that this formulation could be used to objectively characterize 3D PAT system performance and would enable the development of efficient strategies for system design optimization.

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      Most cited references 23

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      Biomedical photoacoustic imaging.

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      Photoacoustic (PA) imaging, also called optoacoustic imaging, is a new biomedical imaging modality based on the use of laser-generated ultrasound that has emerged over the last decade. It is a hybrid modality, combining the high-contrast and spectroscopic-based specificity of optical imaging with the high spatial resolution of ultrasound imaging. In essence, a PA image can be regarded as an ultrasound image in which the contrast depends not on the mechanical and elastic properties of the tissue, but its optical properties, specifically optical absorption. As a consequence, it offers greater specificity than conventional ultrasound imaging with the ability to detect haemoglobin, lipids, water and other light-absorbing chomophores, but with greater penetration depth than purely optical imaging modalities that rely on ballistic photons. As well as visualizing anatomical structures such as the microvasculature, it can also provide functional information in the form of blood oxygenation, blood flow and temperature. All of this can be achieved over a wide range of length scales from micrometres to centimetres with scalable spatial resolution. These attributes lend PA imaging to a wide variety of applications in clinical medicine, preclinical research and basic biology for studying cancer, cardiovascular disease, abnormalities of the microcirculation and other conditions. With the emergence of a variety of truly compelling in vivo images obtained by a number of groups around the world in the last 2-3 years, the technique has come of age and the promise of PA imaging is now beginning to be realized. Recent highlights include the demonstration of whole-body small-animal imaging, the first demonstrations of molecular imaging, the introduction of new microscopy modes and the first steps towards clinical breast imaging being taken as well as a myriad of in vivo preclinical imaging studies. In this article, the underlying physical principles of the technique, its practical implementation, and a range of clinical and preclinical applications are reviewed.
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        Objective methods for assessing perceptual image quality traditionally attempted to quantify the visibility of errors (differences) between a distorted image and a reference image using a variety of known properties of the human visual system. Under the assumption that human visual perception is highly adapted for extracting structural information from a scene, we introduce an alternative complementary framework for quality assessment based on the degradation of structural information. As a specific example of this concept, we develop a Structural Similarity Index and demonstrate its promise through a set of intuitive examples, as well as comparison to both subjective ratings and state-of-the-art objective methods on a database of images compressed with JPEG and JPEG2000.
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          Imaging modalities play an important role in the clinical management of cancer, including screening, diagnosis, treatment planning and therapy monitoring. Owing to increased research efforts during the past two decades, photoacoustic imaging (a non-ionizing, noninvasive technique capable of visualizing optical absorption properties of tissue at reasonable depth, with the spatial resolution of ultrasound) has emerged. Ultrasound-guided photoacoustics is noted for its ability to provide in vivo morphological and functional information about the tumor within the surrounding tissue. With the recent advent of targeted contrast agents, photoacoustics is now also capable of in vivo molecular imaging, thus facilitating further molecular and cellular characterization of cancer. This review examines the role of photoacoustics and photoacoustic-augmented imaging techniques in comprehensive cancer detection, diagnosis and treatment guidance.

            Author and article information

            [1 ]Imaging Program, Lawson Health Research Institute, St. Joseph’s Health Care, London, Ontario, Canada
            [2 ]Department of Medical Biophysics, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada
            Shenzhen institutes of advanced technology, CHINA
            Author notes

            Competing Interests: The authors received funding from MultiMagnetics Inc. and affirm that this does not alter their adherence to PLOS ONE policies on sharing data and materials.

            Conceived and designed the experiments: PW JJLC. Performed the experiments: PW IK AR. Analyzed the data: PW IK AR JJLC. Wrote the paper: PW IK AR JJLC.

            ‡ These authors also contributed equally to this work.

            Role: Academic Editor
            PLoS One
            PLoS ONE
            PLoS ONE
            Public Library of Science (San Francisco, CA USA )
            15 April 2015
            : 10
            : 4
            (Academic Editor)

            This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited

            Figures: 10, Tables: 0, Pages: 25
            PW and IK were supported by the Translational Breast Cancer Research Unit ( as well as The University of Western Ontario (WGRS)( PW was also supported by the Ontario Graduate Scholarship ( AR was supported by WGRS, the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR)(, and the CIHR strategic training program in Cancer Research and Technology Transfer ( Research funding was provided by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (ID#: 29864), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (ID#: 312232-2009)(, the Canadian Institute of Health Research (ID#: 220298)(, The Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation’s Ontario Research Fund (ID#: RE-03-051)( through the Ontario Preclinical Imaging Consortium (OPIC), and the Lawson Health Research Institute (LHRI). MultiMagnetics Inc. provided matching funds with respect to ORF-OPIC. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
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