A stable phantom material for optical and acoustic imaging

Lina Hacker, Aoife M. Ivory, James Joseph, Janek Gröhl, Bajram Zeqiri, Srinath Rajagopal, Sarah E. Bohndiek (Lead / Corresponding author)

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Establishing tissue-mimicking biophotonic phantom materials that provide long-term stability are imperative to enable the comparison of biomedical imaging devices across vendors and institutions, support the development of internationally recognized standards, and assist the clinical translation of novel technologies. Here, a manufacturing process is presented that results in a stable, low-cost, tissue-mimicking copolymer-in-oil material for use in photoacoustic, optical, and ultrasound standardization efforts.

The base material consists of mineral oil and a copolymer with defined Chemical Abstract Service (CAS) numbers. The protocol presented here yields a representative material with a speed of sound c(f) = 1,481 ± 0.4 m·s-1 at 5 MHz (corresponds to the speed of sound of water at 20 °C), acoustic attenuation α(f) = 6.1 ± 0.06 dB·cm-1 at 5 MHz, optical absorption µa(λ) = 0.05 ± 0.005 mm-1 at 800 nm, and optical scattering µs'(λ) = 1 ± 0.1 mm-1 at 800 nm. The material allows independent tuning of the acoustic and optical properties by respectively varying the polymer concentration or light scattering (titanium dioxide) and absorbing agents (oil-soluble dye). The fabrication of different phantom designs is displayed and the homogeneity of the resulting test objects is confirmed using photoacoustic imaging.

Due to its facile, repeatable fabrication process and durability, as well as its biologically relevant properties, the material recipe has high promise in multimodal acoustic-optical standardization initiatives.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere65475
Number of pages16
JournalJoVE: Journal of Visualized Experiments
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2023


  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Ultrasonography/methods
  • Mineral Oil
  • Acoustics
  • Polymers/chemistry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Neuroscience


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