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Using Light, Sound to Reveal Rapid Brain Activity in Unprecedented Detail

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The vasculature of the brain.

Photoacoustic microscopy uses light and sound to capture detailed images of organs, tissues, and cells throughout the body. The technique uses a laser to send light into a targeted tissue or cell; when the laser hits the cell, it heats up and expands inst

Credit: Duke Biomedical Engineering

Duke University researchers have developed an approach that allows for real-time scanning and imaging of blood flow and oxygen levels in a mouse brain with sufficient resolution to simultaneously observe activity of individual vessels and the entire brain.

Their method could help overcome the challenges associated with brain imaging, particularly the trade-off between speed and resolution.

The new approach, called ultrafast photoacoustic microscopy (UFF-PAM), involves a combination of a polygon scanning system that sends more laser bursts to a larger area, a new scanning mechanism that allows simultaneous operation of the laser scanner and ultrasound sensor, and machine learning algorithms to improve the resolution of the images.

Said Duke's Junjie Yao, "The resulting images looked as detailed as the high-resolution images we would usually get if we went at a much slower speed, and we didn't need to sacrifice a full field of view."

From Duke Biomedical Engineering
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