Optimizing Irradiation Geometry in LED-Based Photoacoustic Imaging with 3D Printed Flexible and Modular Light Delivery System
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155, USA
Research and Business Development Division, CYBERDYNE INC, 3013 AK Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sensors 2020, 20(13), 3789; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20133789
Received: 21 May 2020 / Revised: 29 June 2020 / Accepted: 29 June 2020 / Published: 6 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomedical Photoacoustic Imaging and Sensing Using Affordable Resources)
Photoacoustic (PA) imaging–a technique combining the ability of optical imaging to probe functional properties of the tissue and deep structural imaging ability of ultrasound–has gained significant popularity in the past two decades for its utility in several biomedical applications. More recently, light-emitting diodes (LED) are being explored as an alternative to bulky and expensive laser systems used in PA imaging for their portability and low-cost. Due to the large beam divergence of LEDs compared to traditional laser beams, it is imperative to quantify the angular dependence of LED-based illumination and optimize its performance for imaging superficial or deep-seated lesions. A custom-built modular 3-D printed hinge system and tissue-mimicking phantoms with various absorption and scattering properties were used in this study to quantify the angular dependence of LED-based illumination. We also experimentally calculated the source divergence of the pulsed-LED arrays to be 58° ± 8°. Our results from point sources (pencil lead phantom) in non-scattering medium obey the cotangential relationship between the angle of irradiation and maximum PA intensity obtained at various imaging depths, as expected. Strong dependence on the angle of illumination at superficial depths (−5°/mm at 10 mm) was observed that becomes weaker at intermediate depths (−2.5°/mm at 20 mm) and negligible at deeper locations (−1.1°/mm at 30 mm). The results from the tissue-mimicking phantom in scattering media indicate that angles between 30–75° could be used for imaging lesions at various depths (12 mm–28 mm) where lower LED illumination angles (closer to being parallel to the imaging plane) are preferable for deep tissue imaging and superficial lesion imaging is possible with higher LED illumination angles (closer to being perpendicular to the imaging plane). Our results can serve as a priori knowledge for the future LED-based PA system designs employed for both preclinical and clinical applications.