Date of Completion


Embargo Period



optical imaging, PAM, low-cost, laser scanning, PAT, porphyrin, SFDI, handheld

Major Advisor

Quing Zhu

Co-Major Advisor

Rajeev Bansal

Associate Advisor

Christian Brückner

Associate Advisor

Patrick Kumavor

Associate Advisor

Guoan Zheng

Field of Study

Biomedical Engineering


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Reducing the cost and size and enhancing the contrast of optical imaging systems improve their potentials for clinical applications. In this dissertation, we describe our endeavors towards development of low-cost and compact photoacoustic microscopy and spatial frequency domain imaging systems as well as improvement of photoacoustic tumor imaging using a specifically designed photoacoustic contrast agent.

Chapters two and three focus on the development of low-cost and compact laser diode based photoacoustic microscopy systems. We first provided an improvement in light delivery of laser diode based photoacoustic microscopy systems that enables imaging biological tissue with high signal to noise ratio. We then developed a laser scanning laser diode based photoacoustic microscopy system that provides substantial improvement of imaging speed and eliminates the need for mechanical scanning of the sample, hence improving the potentials of low-cost and compact laser diode based photoacoustic microscopy for clinical applications.

Chapter four describes synthesis and evaluation of a monomeric porphyrin-based photoacoustic contrast agent for improvement of in vivo tumor imaging. Absorption in near infrared wavelength range, solubility, stability, nontoxicity, and high photoacoustic generation efficiency of the dye were demonstrated. The contrast agent was evaluated for enhancing the photoacoustic images of implanted murine tumors revealing a multi-fold stronger enhancement and a slower washout compared to the benchmark FDA approved indocyanine green (ICG) dye. Favorable filtration and tumor accumulation of the dye further demonstrated its potential as a photoacoustic contrast agent for in vivo tumor imaging.

Finally, chapter 5 describes development of a very low-cost, handheld, and multispectral spatial frequency domain imaging system that incorporates nine different light emitting diodes and all illumination and detection optical components in a small 3D-printed probe. The system performance was evaluated on biological tissue to assess its potentials.