Sensitivity of laser opto-acoustic imaging in detection of small deeply embedded tumors

Rinat O. Esenaliev, Alexander A. Karabutov, Alexander A. Oraevsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

251 Scopus citations


Current imaging modalities fail to detect small tumors in the breast. Opto-acoustic tomography is a novel technique for early cancer detection with promising diagnostic capability. The experimental limit of sensitivity and maximal depth of the laser opto-acoustic detection for small model tumors located within bulk phantom tissue were studied. Two phantoms with optical properties similar to that of breast tissue in the near infrared spectral range were used in these studies: turbid gelatin slabs with the thickness of 100 mm and chicken breast muscle slabs with the thickness of up to 80 mm. Gelatin spheres with enhanced absorption coefficient relative to the background absorption and liver tissue were used to simulate small tumors. The experiments demonstrated the capability of laser optoacoustic imaging to detect and localize phantom tumors with the diameter of 2 mm at a depth of up to 60 mm within the gelatin phantoms and 3 × 2 × 0.6-mm piece of liver tissue within 80-mm chicken breast tissue. Theoretical studies on sensitivity of opto-acoustic detection at various diameters, depths of location, and absorption coefficients of small tumors were performed using the experimental data. Our results suggest that the opto-acoustic imaging may occupy a significant niche in early detection of cancer in the breast and other organs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)981-988
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Journal on Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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