Isotropic-resolution linear-array-based photoacoustic computed tomography through inverse Radon transform

Guo Li, Jun Xia, Lei Li, Lidai Wang, Lihong V. Wang
Proc. of SPIE, Photons Plus Ultrasound: Imaging and Sensing2015
Linear transducer arrays are readily available for ultrasonic detection in photoacoustic computed tomography. They offer low cost, hand-held convenience, and conventional ultrasonic imaging. However, the elevational resolution of linear transducer arrays, which is usually determined by the weak focus of the cylindrical acoustic lens, is about one order of magnitude worse than the in-plane axial and lateral spatial resolutions. Therefore, conventional linear scanning along the elevational direction cannot provide high-quality three-dimensional photoacoustic images due to the anisotropic spatial resolutions. Here we propose an innovative method to achieve isotropic resolutions for three-dimensional photoacoustic images through combined linear and rotational scanning. In each scan step, we first elevationally scan the linear transducer array, and then rotate the linear transducer array along its center in small steps, and scan again until 180 degrees have been covered. To reconstruct isotropic three-dimensional images from the multiple-directional scanning dataset, we use the standard inverse Radon transform originating from X-ray CT. We acquired a three-dimensional microsphere phantom image through the inverse Radon transform method and compared it with a single-elevational-scan three-dimensional image. The comparison shows that our method improves the elevational resolution by up to one order of magnitude, approaching the in-plane lateral-direction resolution. In vivo rat images were also acquired.
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