Application of signal detection theory to assess optoacoustic imaging systems

Yang Lou, Alexander Oraevsky, Mark A. Anastasio

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The hybrid nature of optoacoustic tomography (OAT) brings together the advantages of both optical imaging and ultrasound imaging, making it a promising tool for breast cancer imaging. It is advocated in the modern imaging science literature to utilize objective, or task-based, measures of system performance to guide the optimization of hardware design and image reconstruction algorithms. In this work, we investigate this approach to assess the performance of OAT breast imaging systems. In particular, we apply principles from signal detection theory to compute the detectability of a simulated tumor at different depths within a breast, for two different system designs. The signal-to-noise ratio of the test statistic computed by a numerical observer is employed as the task-specific summary measure of system performance. A numerical breast model is employed that contains both slowly varying background and vessel structures as the background model, and superimpose a deterministic signal to emulate a tumor. This study demonstrates how signal detection performance of a numerical observer will vary as a function of signal depth and imaging system characteristics. The described methodology can be employed readily to systematically optimize other OAT imaging systems for tumor detection tasks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPhotons Plus Ultrasound
Subtitle of host publicationImaging and Sensing 2016
EditorsAlexander A. Oraevsky, Lihong V. Wang
ISBN (Electronic)9781628419429
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes
EventPhotons Plus Ultrasound: Imaging and Sensing 2016 - San Francisco, United States
Duration: Feb 14 2016Feb 17 2016

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


ConferencePhotons Plus Ultrasound: Imaging and Sensing 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco


  • breast cancer imaging
  • Optoacoustic tomography
  • photoacoustic tomography
  • task-based imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomaterials
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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