Optical imaging is unequivocally the most versatile and widely used visualization modality in the life sciences. Yet it has been significantly limited by photon scattering, which complicates imaging beyond a few hundred microns. For the past few years, there has been an emergence of powerful new optical and optoacoustic imaging methods that can offer high resolution imaging beyond the penetration limits of microscopic methods. The talk discusses progress in multi-spectral opto-acoustic tomography (MSOT) that brings unprecedented optical imaging performance in visualizing anatomical, physiological and molecular imaging biomarkers. Some of the attractive features of the method are the ability to offer 10–100 microns resolution through several millimetres to centimetres of tissue and real-time imaging. We demonstrate implementations in the time and frequency domain, showcase how it is possible to accurately solve fluence and spectral coloring issues for yielding quantitative measurements of tissue oxygenation and hypoxia and demonstrate applications in resolving inflammation, metabolism, angiogenesis in label free mode. In parallel we summarize progress with clinical systems that offer to change readings of disease in-vivo and discuss complementarity with ultrasound imaging, fluorescence imaging and other modalities. Finally the talk offers insights into new miniaturized detection methods based on ultrasound detection using optical fibers, which could be used for minimally invasive applications.
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