University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Center for Excellence in Sensing Technologies and Analytics Seminar

Tuesday, February 12th 2019
Speaker: Shai Ashkenazi and Taner Akkin, Associate Professors of Biomedical Engineering, University of Minnesota
Subject:  Photoacoustic Imaging (Ashkenazi) and Polarized Light Imaging (Akkin) for Biomedical Applications

The field of Photoacoustic Imaging (PAI) for medical and biological applications has changed dramatically in the past two decades. It has evolved from a bulk absorption spectroscopy technique for sample analysis into a high resolution imaging modality. It is a change similar to the evolution of Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS) into Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). However, as opposed to the rapid adoption of MRI in medical diagnosis, PAI is still not in use in clinics. The reasons may be insufficient depth penetration, cost (relative to alternatives), bulky laser systems, and challenging engineering design of light and ultrasound delivery. Yet, the attraction of PAI is its ability to embed optical tissue properties in a plain ultrasound image. This way extending ultrasound imaging to functional and molecular imaging modality. Dr. Ashkenazi will introduce the basic principles of PAI and then move to explore different mechanisms of contrast that can be implemented in PAI. Primarily, he will focus on using transient absorption and triplet-triplet absorption as a potential contrast for PAI in medical applications.
PART-II: Polarization is an essential but underutilized property of light. Imaging systems that are capable of making polarization-sensitive measurements require careful design and in some cases use of sophisticated analysis methods. Dr. Akkin will present optical coherence tomography (OCT) based depth-resolved tissue imaging for which the intensity, phase and polarization properties of backscattered/reflected light are analyzed to extract various imaging contrasts. This label-free imaging and mapping technique will be introduced for generating 3D optical tractography of whole-brain microconnectivity with serial sectioning. Also, he will present contrast enhancement by titanium dioxide perfusion, which enables visualization of the vasculature in cross-polarization images. Signal and image processing approaches as well as deep learning algorithms are being developed for better visualization and separation of the vascular and white matter networks.

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