Researchers working at Duke University and Washington University in St. Louis developed a new photoacoustic technique called single-impulse photoacoustic computed tomography (SIP-PACT) that provides an amazing high resolution look inside small living animals such as mice. Photoacoustic imaging involves shining a laser light into tissue, which generates pulses of sound waves due to the tissue heating up and expanding. The effect is seemingly small, but ultrasound transducers are able to detect these sound waves to render an image.
The new technology provides a live look at moving organs, the blood flowing, and even the progress of circulating melanoma cells. The team demonstrated sub-millimeter resolution at five centimeters of imaging depth. They believe that this will allow for whole-body studies of the effects of drugs and other therapies on lab animals that were previously impossible.
A bit of detail from Duke University:
They have built a circular ultrasonic detector and a fast data-acquisition system that can triangulate the origin of an ultrasonic wave from anywhere within the body of a small animal.
And with the help of a fast laser that operates within the safety limit, the upgraded device can image the full cross-section of an adult rat 50 times per second, providing detailed movies of its inner workings with 120-micrometer resolution.
Study in Nature Biomedical Engineering: Single-impulse panoramic photoacoustic computed tomography of small-animal whole-body dynamics at high spatiotemporal resolution…