Towards clinical photoacoustic and ultrasound imaging: Probe improvement and real-time graphical user interface
Photoacoustic imaging is a non-invasive and non-ionizing biomedical technique that has been investigated widely for various clinical applications. By taking the advantages of conventional ultrasound imaging, hand-held operation with a linear array transducer should be favorable for successful clinical translation of photoacoustic imaging. In this paper, we present new key updates contributed to the previously developed real-time clinical photoacoustic and ultrasound imaging system for improving the clinical usability of the system. We developed a seamless image optimization platform, designed a real-time parameter control software with a user-friendly graphical user interface, performed Monte Carlo simulation of the optical fluence in the imaging plane, and optimized the geometry of the imaging probe. The updated system allows optimizing of all imaging parameters while continuously acquiring the photoacoustic and ultrasound images in real-time. The updated system has great potential to be used in a variety of clinical applications such as assessing the malignancy of thyroid cancer, breast cancer, and melanoma.