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Elastic properties of soft tissue-mimicking phantoms assessed by combined use of laser ultrasonics and low coherence interferometry

Elastic properties of soft tissue-mimicking phantoms assessed by combined use of laser ultrasonics and low coherence interferometry

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Original languageEnglish
Pages10153-10163
Number of pages11
JournalOptics Express
Journal publication date2011
Journal number11
Volume19
DOIs
StatePublished

Abstract

Advances in the field of laser ultrasonics have opened up new possibilities in medical applications. This paper evaluates this technique as a method that would allow for rapid characterization of the elastic properties of soft biological tissue. In doing so, we propose a novel approach that utilizes a low coherence interferometer to detect the laser-induced surface acoustic waves (SAW) from the tissue-mimicking phantoms. A Nd:YAG focused laser line-source is applied to one- and two-layer tissue-mimicking agar-agar phantoms, and the generated SAW signals are detected by a time domain low coherence interferometry system. SAW phase velocity dispersion curves are calculated, from which the elasticity of the specimens is evaluated. We show that the experimental results agree well with those of the theoretical expectations. This study is the first report that a laser-generated SAW phase velocity dispersion technique is applied to soft materials. This technique may open a way for laser ultrasonics to detect the mechanical properties of soft tissues, such as skin.

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