Novel Nonlinear Optics and Quantum Optics Approaches for Ultrasound-Modulated Optical Tomography in Soft Biological Tissue
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Optical imaging of soft biological tissue is highly desirable since it is nonionizing and provides sensitive contrast information which enables the detection of physiological functions and abnormalities, including potentially early cancer detection. However, due to the diffusive nature of light in soft biological tissue, it is difficult to achieve simultaneously good spatial resolution and good imaging depth with pure optical imaging modalities. This work focuses on the ultrasound-modulated optical tomography (UOT): a hybrid technique which combines the advantages of ultrasonic resolution and optical contrast. In this technique, focused ultrasound and optical radiation of high temporal coherence are simultaneously applied to soft biological tissue. The intensity of the sideband, or ultrasound ‗tagged‘ photons depends on the optical absorption in the region of interest where the ultrasound is focused. Demodulation of the optical speckle pattern yields the intensity of tagged photons for each location of the ultrasonic focal spot. Thus UOT yields an image with spatial resolution of the focused ultrasound — typically submillimeter — whose contrast is related to local optical absorption and the diffusive properties of light in the organ. Thus it extends all the advantages of optical imaging deep into highly scattering tissue. However lack of efficient tagged light detection techniques has so far prevented ultrasound-modulated optical tomography from achieving maturity. The signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and imaging speed are two of the most important figures of merit and need further improvement for UOT to become widely applicable. In the first part of this work, nonlinear optics detection methods have been implemented to demodulate the ―tagged‖ photons. The most common of these is photorefractive (PR) two wave mixing (TWM) interferometry, which is a time-domain filtering technique. When used for UOT, it is found that this approach extracts not only optical properties but also mechanical properties for the area of interest. To improve on TWM, PR four wave mixing (FWM) experiments were performed to read out only the modulated light and at the same time strongly suppressing the ‗untagged‘ light. Spectral-hole burning (SHB) in a rare-earth-ion-doped crystal has been developed for UOT more recently. Experiments in Tm3 :Y3Al5O12 (Tm:YAG) show the outstanding features of SHB: large angle acceptance (etendue), light speckle processing in parallel (insensitive to the diffusive light nature) and real-time signal collection (immune to light speckle decorrelation). With the help of advanced laser stabilization techniques, two orders of magnitude improvement of SNR have been achieved in a persistent SHB material (Pr^3 :Y2SiO5) compared to Tm:YAG. Also slow light with PSHB further reduces noise in Pr:YSO UOT that is caused by polarization leakage by performing time-domain filtering.
ultrasound-modulated optical tomography
rare-earth doped crystal
Zhang, Huiliang (2010). Novel Nonlinear Optics and Quantum Optics Approaches for Ultrasound-Modulated Optical Tomography in Soft Biological Tissue. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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