Ultrasound biomicroscopy produces exquisite images of tissue microstructure but has failed to make the leap to widespread clinical use. A major technical obstacle has been the lack of suitable sensor arrays operating at high ultrasonic frequencies. The fundamental hypothesis of this proposal is that ?optoacoustic? technology can revolutionize the imaging performance of ultrasound biomicroscopy systems. Optical techniques for ultrasound detection can produce broadband, large aperture, and highly populated sensor arrays unattainable with conventional ultrasound technology. The research goals of this career development plan are to (1) develop optoacoustic sensor arrays for high speed data acquisition; and (2) develop optoacoustic-based array scanners for real-time imaging. The proposed research involves device technology, data acquisition techniques, and image reconstruction algorithms.
Broader impacts: The education and outreach activities will include middle school students, high school students and teachers, undergraduate and graduate students, and continuing education professionals. High school and undergraduate students can perform many aspects of the proposed research. Undergraduate and graduate students will gain hands-on experience with a lab component developed for a medical imaging course. Converting this course to distance-learning format will provide access to continuing education professionals. Web-based remote laboratories will provide world-wide access to instructional experiments on ultrasound imaging and ultrasound biomicroscopy. Encouraging high school students to remotely access the ultrasound imaging equipment will interest them in science and engineering. Enthusiasm for engineering among middle school students will be fostered through hands-on projects, imaging demos, and tours of the local hospital?s medical imaging facilities. Significant gaps remain in imaging technology as the need for a broader array of techniques has grown tremendously. The potential benefits to society are far-reaching, as effective imaging systems can impact all aspects of human life from the health and safety of individuals to homeland security.