At the Ultrasound, Photoacoustic and Optoacoustic Lab (UPOL) we focus on developing new imaging and sensing techniques for better clinical diagnosis, treatment monitoring, and image guided interventions. Our projects span two major areas, functional photoacoustic imaging and opto-acoustic transducer technology for high frequency ultrasound applications.
The field of functional photoacoustic imaging presents unique advantages for medical applications. The combination of optical excitation and acoustic readout of the resulting information extends the limits of both optical techniques and acoustic techniques, and opens up new possibilities in clinical functional imaging. We are particularly interested in exploring photoacoustic imaging of transient optical properties for the development of imaging of metabolic functions and activatable imaging probes.
Optoacoustic transducer technology is a term used to describe optical devices that generate and detect ultrasound. As opposed to conventional ultrasound technology where electric voltage signals are converted to ultrasound signals and vice versa, in optoacoustic devices laser pulses are used to generate ultrasonic pulses and sensitive optical resonators detect ultrasonic waves and convert them into optical signals. We focus on developing optoacoustic ultrasound transducers that utilize advanced methods of micro-fabrication to construct sensors and imaging arrays. This technology is particularly advantageous for imaging probes that require small element size (smaller than 0.1 mm) and wide bandwidth (up to 100 MHz).