Thin polymer etalon arrays for high-resolution photoacoustic imaging

Yang Hou, Sheng Wen Huang, Shai Ashkenazi, Russell Witte, Matthew O'Donnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Thin polymer etalons are demonstrated as high-frequency ultrasound sensors for three-dimensional (3-D) high-resolution photoacoustic imaging. The etalon, a Fabry-Perot optical resonator, consists of a thin polymer slab sandwiched between two gold layers. It is probed with a scanning continuous-wave (CW) laser for ultrasound array detection. Detection bandwidth of a 20-μm-diam array element exceeds 50 MHz, and the ultrasound sensitivity is comparable to polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) equivalents of similar size. In a typical photoacoustic imaging setup, a pulsed laser beam illuminates the imaging target, where optical energy is absorbed and acoustic waves are generated through the thermoelastic effect. An ultrasound detection array is formed by scanning the probing laser beam on the etalon surface in either a 1-D or a 2-D configuration, which produces 2-D or 3-D images, respectively. Axial and lateral resolutions have been demonstrated to be better than 20 μm. Detailed characterizations of the optical and acoustical properties of the etalon, as well as photoacoustic imaging results, suggest that thin polymer etalon arrays can be used as ultrasound detectors for 3-D high-resolution photoacoustic imaging applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number064033
JournalJournal of biomedical optics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work has been supported in part by NIH under Grant Nos. EB003455, EB003449, and EB004933. The authors gratefully acknowledge the Resource Center for Medical Ul- trasonic Transducer Technology at the University of Southern California for supplying the high-frequency piezoelectric transducers.


  • Etalon
  • High-frequency ultrasound
  • High-resolution imaging
  • Optoacoustic detection
  • Photoacoustic imaging


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