While ultrasound is one of the most common medical imaging tools, conventional electronic ultrasound devices tend to be bulky and cannot be used at the same time as some other imaging technologies. A new ultrasound system that uses optical, instead of electronic components, could improve performance while giving doctors significantly more flexibility in how they use ultrasound to diagnose and treat medical problems.
In The Optical Society (OSA) journal Biomedical Optics Express, researchers demonstrate for the first time the use of an all-optical ultrasound imager for video-rate, real-time 2-D imaging of biological tissue. The achievement is an important step toward making all-optical ultrasound practical for routine clinical use.
“All-optical ultrasound imaging probes have the potential to revolutionize image-guided interventions,” said Erwin J. Alles, University College London, United Kingdom. “A lack of electronics and the resulting MRI compatibility will allow for true multimodality image guidance, with probes that are potentially just a fraction of the cost of conventional electronic counterparts.”