Photoacoustic generation by multiple picosecond pulse excitation

Tan Liu*, Jing Wang, Georgi I. Petrov, Vladislav V. Yakovlev, Hao F. Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this work is to demonstrate that higher amplitude of ultrashort laser induced photoacoustic signal can be achieved by multiple-pulse excitation when the temporal duration of the pulse train is less than the minimum of the medium's thermal relaxation time and stress relaxation time. Thus, improved signal-to-noise ratio can thus be attained through multiple-pulse excitation while minimizing the energy of each pulse. Methods: The authors used a Michelson interferometer together with a picoseconds laser system to introduce two 6 ps pulses separated by a controllable delay by introducing a path length difference between the two arms of the interferometer. The authors then employed a series of three interferometers to create a pulse train consisting of eight pulses. The average pulse energy was 11 nJ and the temporal span of the pulse train was less than 1 ns. Results: The detected peak-to-peak amplitude of the multiple-pulse induced photoacoustic waves were linearly dependent on the number of pulses in the pulse train and such a linearity held for different optical absorption coefficients. The signal-to-noise ratio improved when the number of pulses increased. Moreover, nonlinear effects were not detected and no photoacoustic saturation effect was observed. Conclusions: The authors have shown that multiple-pulse excitation improves the signal-to-noise ratio through an accumulated energy deposition effect. This method is invaluable for photoacoustic measurements that require ultrashort laser pulses with minimized pulse energy to avoid laser damage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1518-1521
Number of pages4
JournalMedical Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2010


  • Multiple pulses
  • Photoacoustic imaging
  • Ultrasfast optics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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