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High-speed three-dimensional photoacoustic
computed tomography for preclinical research and
clinical translation

Authors: Li Lin1,4, Peng Hu1,4, Xin Tong1,4, Rui Cao1, Xiaoyun Yuan1,2, David C. Garrett1, Junhui Shi1,3, Konstantin Maslov1 & Lihong V. Wang1


1 Caltech Optical Imaging Laboratory, Andrew and Peggy Cherng Department of Medical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA.

2 Present address: Department of Electronic Engineering, Tsinghua University, Haidian District, Beijing, China.

3 Present address: Zhejiang Lab, China Artificial
Intelligence Town, Hangzhou Zhejiang, China.

4 These authors contributed equally: Li Lin, Peng Hu, Xin Tong, Shuai Na.


Photoacoustic computed tomography (PACT) has generated increasing interest for uses in
preclinical research and clinical translation. However, the imaging depth, speed, and quality of
existing PACT systems have previously limited the potential applications of this technology.
To overcome these issues, we developed a three-dimensional photoacoustic computed
tomography (3D-PACT) system that features large imaging depth, scalable field of view with
isotropic spatial resolution, high imaging speed, and superior image quality. 3D-PACT allows
for multipurpose imaging to reveal detailed angiographic information in biological tissues
ranging from the rodent brain to the human breast. In the rat brain, we visualize whole brain
vasculatures and hemodynamics. In the human breast, an in vivo imaging depth of 4 cm is
achieved by scanning the breast within a single breath hold of 10 s. Here, we introduce the
3D-PACT system to provide a unique tool for preclinical research and an appealing prototype
for clinical translation.


Lin, L., Hu, P., Tong, X. et al. High-speed three-dimensional photoacoustic computed tomography for preclinical research and clinical translation. Nat Commun 12, 882 (2021).