Software-based approach toward vendor independent real-time photoacoustic imaging using ultrasound beamformed data

Haichong K. Zhang, Howard Huang, Chen Lei, Younsu Kim, Emad M. Boctor

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Photoacoustic (PA) imaging has shown its potential for many clinical applications, but current research and usage of PA imaging are constrained by additional hardware costs to collect channel data, as the PA signals are incorrectly processed in existing clinical ultrasound systems. This problem arises from the fact that ultrasound systems beamform the PA signals as echoes from the ultrasound transducer instead of directly from illuminated sources. Consequently, conventional implementations of PA imaging rely on parallel channel acquisition from research platforms, which are not only slow and expensive, but are also mostly not approved by the FDA for clinical use. In previous studies, we have proposed the synthetic-aperture based photoacoustic re-beamformer (SPARE) that uses ultrasound beamformed radio frequency (RF) data as the input, which is readily available in clinical ultrasound scanners. The goal of this work is to implement the SPARE beamformer in a clinical ultrasound system, and to experimentally demonstrate its real-time visualization. Assuming a high pulsed repetition frequency (PRF) laser is used, a PZT-based pseudo PA source transmission was synchronized with the ultrasound line trigger. As a result, the frame-rate increases when limiting the image field-of-view (FOV), with 50 to 20 frames per second achieved for FOVs from 35 mm to 70 mm depth, respectively. Although in reality the maximum PRF of laser firing limits the PA image frame rate, this result indicates that the developed software is capable of displaying PA images with the maximum possible frame-rate for certain laser system without acquiring channel data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPhotons Plus Ultrasound
Subtitle of host publicationImaging and Sensing 2017
EditorsAlexander A. Oraevsky, Lihong V. Wang
ISBN (Electronic)9781510605695
StatePublished - 2017
EventPhotons Plus Ultrasound: Imaging and Sensing 2017 - San Francisco, United States
Duration: Jan 29 2017Feb 1 2017

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


OtherPhotons Plus Ultrasound: Imaging and Sensing 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco


  • Clinical ultrasound systems
  • Low-cost
  • Photoacoustic imaging
  • Real-time
  • Ultrasound beamformed data

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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