P. Burgholzer, G. Stockner, G. Mayr - Acoustic Reconstruction for Photothermal Imaging - Bioengineering, Vol. 5, No. 70, 2018, pp. 9
Pulsed illumination of a sample, e.g., of a biological tissue, causes a sudden temperature
increase of light absorbing structures, such as blood vessels, which results in an outgoing acoustic
wave, as well as heat diffusion, of the absorbed energy. Both of the signals, pressure and temperature,
can be measured at the sample surface and are used to reconstruct the initial temperature or pressure
distribution, called photoacoustic or photothermal reconstruction respectively. We have demonstrated
that both signals at the same surface pixel are connected by a temporal transformation. This allows
for the calculation of a so-called acoustical virtual wave from the surface temperature evolution
as measured by an infrared camera. The virtual wave is the solution of a wave equation and can
be used to reconstruct the initial temperature distribution immediately after the excitation pulse.
This virtual wave reconstruction method was used for the reconstruction of inclined steel rods in
an epoxy sample, which were heated by a short pulse. The reconstructed experimental images
show clearly the degradation of the spatial resolution with increasing depth, which is theoretically
described by a depth-dependent thermographic point-spread-function.