Photoacoustic tomography through a whole adult human skull with a photon recycler

Liming Nie, Xin Cai, Konstantin Maslov, Alejandro Garcia-Uribe, Mark A. Anastasio, Lihong V. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Photoacoustic tomography (PAT) of the human brain is challenging due to the fact that the skull strongly absorbs and scatters light, and attenuates and distorts ultrasound as well. For the first time, we demonstrated the feasibility of PAT through a whole adult human skull. A photon recycler (PR) was built to increase light transmittance through the skull. Both a graphite target and a canine brain were imaged through the skull. Use of the PR was found to improve the photoacoustic signal-to-noise ratio by a factor of 2.4. In addition, subtraction of photoacoustic signals that arise from light absorption within the skull significantly improved the contrast of the target. Our results indicate that PAT can potentially be applied to in vivo human brain imaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110506
JournalJournal of biomedical optics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • human brain imaging
  • optical scattering
  • photoacoustic tomography
  • skull absorption
  • subtraction imaging
  • transcranial imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics

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