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Special Issue "Biomedical Photoacoustic Imaging and Sensing Using Affordable Resources"

A special issue of Sensors (ISSN 1424-8220). This special issue belongs to the section "Physical Sensors".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Mithun Kuniyil Ajith Singh
Website SciProfiles
Guest Editor
Research and Business Development Division, CYBERDYNE INC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Interests: photoacoustic imaging; ultrasound imaging; medical device development
Dr. Wenfeng Xia
Website SciProfiles
Guest Editor
Department of Surgical and Intervention Engineering, School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences (BMEIS), King’s College London, London, UK
Interests: photoacoustic imaging and sensing; ultrasonic device tracking; minimally invasive procedures

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Photoacoustic (PA) or optoacoustic imaging is a hybrid imaging technique with tremendous potential in multi-scale preclinical and clinical biomedical applications. PA imaging is one of the fastest-growing biomedical imaging modalities of the decade, offering scalable imaging depth and resolution, and optical spectroscopic contrast, making it a promising solution for real-time functional, molecular, and structural imaging of tissue. Biomedical PA imaging is now at an exciting stage of clinical translation and it is of paramount importance for academia and industry to come up with portable and affordable light delivery/detection solutions to accelerate the smooth transition to clinic. This Special Issue encompasses a broad range of PA imaging techniques, mainly focused on recent advances in light sources and delivery methods, and new detection strategies towards affordable point-of-care PA imaging.

Topics include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Affordable and portable light sources (laser diodes, LED) and delivery methods
  • Novel ultrasonic sensors
  • Signal processing methods and algorithms suitable for low-light energy settings
  • Image reconstruction algorithms
  • Machine learning and deep learning methods
  • Clutter and artifact reduction
  • Phantoms for system standardization
  • Photoacoustic spectroscopy
  • Preclinical imaging studies

Dr. Mithun Kuniyil Ajith Singh
Dr. Wenfeng Xia
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sensors is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
In Vivo Tumor Vascular Imaging with Light Emitting Diode-Based Photoacoustic Imaging System
Sensors 2020, 20(16), 4503; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20164503 - 12 Aug 2020
Abstract
Photoacoustic (PA) imaging has shown tremendous promise for imaging tumor vasculature and its function at deeper penetration depths without the use of exogenous contrast agents. Traditional PA imaging systems employ expensive and bulky class IV lasers with low pulse repetition rate, due to [...] Read more.
Photoacoustic (PA) imaging has shown tremendous promise for imaging tumor vasculature and its function at deeper penetration depths without the use of exogenous contrast agents. Traditional PA imaging systems employ expensive and bulky class IV lasers with low pulse repetition rate, due to which its availability for preclinical cancer research is hampered. In this study, we evaluated the capability of a Light-Emitting Diode (LED)-based PA and ultrasound (US) imaging system for monitoring heterogeneous microvasculature in tumors (up to 10 mm in depth) and quantitatively compared the PA images with gold standard histology images. We used a combination of a 7 MHz linear array US transducer and 850 nm excitation wavelength LED arrays to image blood vessels in a subcutaneous tumor model. After imaging, the tumors were sectioned and stained for endothelial cells to correlate with PA images across similar cross-sections. Analysis of 30 regions of interest in tumors from different mice showed a statistically significant R-value of 0.84 where the areas with high blood vessel density had high PA response while low blood vessel density regions had low PA response. Our results confirm that LED-based PA and US imaging can provide 2D and 3D images of tumor vasculature and the potential it has as a valuable tool for preclinical cancer research. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Multiangle Long-Axis Lateral Illumination Photoacoustic Imaging Using Linear Array Transducer
Sensors 2020, 20(14), 4052; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20144052 - 21 Jul 2020
Abstract
Photoacoustic imaging (PAI) combines optical contrast with ultrasound spatial resolution and can be obtained up to a depth of a few centimeters. Hand-held PAI systems using linear array usually operate in reflection mode using a dark-field illumination scheme, where the optical fiber output [...] Read more.
Photoacoustic imaging (PAI) combines optical contrast with ultrasound spatial resolution and can be obtained up to a depth of a few centimeters. Hand-held PAI systems using linear array usually operate in reflection mode using a dark-field illumination scheme, where the optical fiber output is attached to both sides of the elevation plane (short-axis) of the transducer. More recently, bright-field strategies where the optical illumination is coaxial with acoustic detection have been proposed to overcome some limitations of the standard dark-field approach. In this paper, a novel multiangle long-axis lateral illumination is proposed. Monte Carlo simulations were conducted to evaluate light delivery for three different illumination schemes: bright-field, standard dark-field, and long-axis lateral illumination. Long-axis lateral illumination showed remarkable improvement in light delivery for targets with a width smaller than the transducer lateral dimension. A prototype was developed to experimentally demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed approach. In this device, the fiber bundle terminal ends are attached to both sides of the transducer’s long-axis and the illumination angle of each fiber bundle can be independently controlled. The final PA image is obtained by the coherent sum of subframes acquired using different angles. The prototype was experimentally evaluated by taking images from a phantom, a mouse abdomen, forearm, and index finger of a volunteer. The system provided light delivery enhancement taking advantage of the geometry of the target, achieving sufficient signal-to-noise ratio at clinically relevant depths. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Optimizing Irradiation Geometry in LED-Based Photoacoustic Imaging with 3D Printed Flexible and Modular Light Delivery System
Sensors 2020, 20(13), 3789; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20133789 - 06 Jul 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication
Tomographic Ultrasound and LED-Based Photoacoustic System for Preclinical Imaging
Sensors 2020, 20(10), 2793; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20102793 - 14 May 2020
Abstract
Small animals are widely used as disease models in medical research. Noninvasive imaging modalities with functional capability play an important role in studying the disease state and treatment progress. Photoacoustics, being a noninvasive and functional modality, has the potential for small-animal imaging. However, [...] Read more.
Small animals are widely used as disease models in medical research. Noninvasive imaging modalities with functional capability play an important role in studying the disease state and treatment progress. Photoacoustics, being a noninvasive and functional modality, has the potential for small-animal imaging. However, the conventional photoacoustic tomographic systems use pulsed lasers, making it expensive, bulky, and require long acquisition time. In this work, we propose the use of photoacoustic and ultrasound tomographic imaging with LEDs as the light source and acoustic detection using a linear transducer array. We have demonstrated full-view tomographic imaging of a euthanized mouse and a potential application in liver fibrosis research. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Optical-Resolution Photoacoustic Microscopy Using Transparent Ultrasound Transducer
Sensors 2019, 19(24), 5470; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19245470 - 11 Dec 2019
Cited by 7
Abstract
The opacity of conventional ultrasound transducers can impede the miniaturization and workflow of current photoacoustic systems. In particular, optical-resolution photoacoustic microscopy (OR-PAM) requires the coaxial alignment of optical illumination and acoustic-detection paths through complex beam combiners and a thick coupling medium. To overcome [...] Read more.
The opacity of conventional ultrasound transducers can impede the miniaturization and workflow of current photoacoustic systems. In particular, optical-resolution photoacoustic microscopy (OR-PAM) requires the coaxial alignment of optical illumination and acoustic-detection paths through complex beam combiners and a thick coupling medium. To overcome these hurdles, we developed a novel OR-PAM method on the basis of our recently reported transparent lithium niobate (LiNbO3) ultrasound transducer (Dangi et al., Optics Letters, 2019), which was centered at 13 MHz ultrasound frequency with 60% photoacoustic bandwidth. To test the feasibility of wearable OR-PAM, optical-only raster scanning of focused light through a transducer was performed while the transducer was fixed above the imaging subject. Imaging experiments on resolution targets and carbon fibers demonstrated a lateral resolution of 8.5 µm. Further, we demonstrated vasculature mapping using chicken embryos and melanoma depth profiling using tissue phantoms. In conclusion, the proposed OR-PAM system using a low-cost transparent LiNbO3 window transducer has a promising future in wearable and high-throughput imaging applications, e.g., integration with conventional optical microscopy to enable a multimodal microscopy platform capable of ultrasound stimulation. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Towards Clinical Translation of LED-Based Photoacoustic Imaging: A Review
Sensors 2020, 20(9), 2484; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20092484 - 27 Apr 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
Photoacoustic imaging, with the capability to provide simultaneous structural, functional, and molecular information, is one of the fastest growing biomedical imaging modalities of recent times. As a hybrid modality, it not only provides greater penetration depth than the purely optical imaging techniques, but [...] Read more.
Photoacoustic imaging, with the capability to provide simultaneous structural, functional, and molecular information, is one of the fastest growing biomedical imaging modalities of recent times. As a hybrid modality, it not only provides greater penetration depth than the purely optical imaging techniques, but also provides optical contrast of molecular components in the living tissue. Conventionally, photoacoustic imaging systems utilize bulky and expensive class IV lasers, which is one of the key factors hindering the clinical translation of this promising modality. Use of LEDs which are portable and affordable offers a unique opportunity to accelerate the clinical translation of photoacoustics. In this paper, we first review the development history of LED as an illumination source in biomedical photoacoustic imaging. Key developments in this area, from point-source measurements to development of high-power LED arrays, are briefly discussed. Finally, we thoroughly review multiple phantom, ex-vivo, animal in-vivo, human in-vivo, and clinical pilot studies and demonstrate the unprecedented preclinical and clinical potential of LED-based photoacoustic imaging. Full article
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Other

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Open AccessLetter
Photoacoustic Imaging as a Tool for Assessing Hair Follicular Organization
Sensors 2020, 20(20), 5848; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20205848 - 16 Oct 2020
Abstract
Follicular unit extraction (FUE) and follicular unit transplantation (FUT) account for 99% of hair transplant procedures. In both cases, it is important for clinicians to characterize follicle density for treatment planning and evaluation. The existing gold-standard is photographic examination. However, this approach is [...] Read more.
Follicular unit extraction (FUE) and follicular unit transplantation (FUT) account for 99% of hair transplant procedures. In both cases, it is important for clinicians to characterize follicle density for treatment planning and evaluation. The existing gold-standard is photographic examination. However, this approach is insensitive to subdermal hair and cannot identify follicle orientation. Here, we introduce a fast and non-invasive imaging technique to measure follicle density and angles across regions of varying density. We first showed that hair is a significant source of photoacoustic signal. We then selected regions of low, medium, and high follicle density and showed that photoacoustic imaging can measure the density of follicles even when they are not visible by eye. We performed handheld imaging by sweeping the transducer across the imaging area to generate 3D images via maximum intensity projection. Background signal from the dermis was removed using a skin tracing method. Measurement of follicle density using photoacoustic imaging was highly correlated with photographic determination (R2 = 0.96). Finally, we measured subdermal follicular angles—a key parameter influencing transection rates in FUE. Full article
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Open AccessLetter
An Automatic Unmixing Approach to Detect Tissue Chromophores from Multispectral Photoacoustic Imaging
Sensors 2020, 20(11), 3235; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20113235 - 06 Jun 2020
Abstract
Multispectral photoacoustic imaging has been widely explored as an emerging tool to visualize and quantify tissue chromophores noninvasively. This modality can capture the spectral absorption signature of prominent tissue chromophores, such as oxygenated, deoxygenated hemoglobin, and other biomarkers in the tissue by using [...] Read more.
Multispectral photoacoustic imaging has been widely explored as an emerging tool to visualize and quantify tissue chromophores noninvasively. This modality can capture the spectral absorption signature of prominent tissue chromophores, such as oxygenated, deoxygenated hemoglobin, and other biomarkers in the tissue by using spectral unmixing methods. Currently, most of the reported image processing algorithms use standard unmixing procedures, which include user interaction in the form of providing the expected spectral signatures. For translational research with patients, these types of supervised spectral unmixing can be challenging, as the spectral signature of the tissues can differ with respect to the disease condition. Imaging exogenous contrast agents and accessing their biodistribution can also be problematic, as some of the contrast agents are susceptible to change in spectral properties after the tissue interaction. In this work, we investigated the feasibility of an unsupervised spectral unmixing algorithm to detect and extract the tissue chromophores without any a-priori knowledge and user interaction. The algorithm has been optimized for multispectral photoacoustic imaging in the spectral range of 680–900 nm. The performance of the algorithm has been tested on simulated data, tissue-mimicking phantom, and also on the detection of exogenous contrast agents after the intravenous injection in mice. Our finding shows that the proposed automatic, unsupervised spectral unmixing method has great potential to extract and quantify the tissue chromophores, and this can be used in any wavelength range of the multispectral photoacoustic images. Full article
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