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  • Received: Jun. 4, 2020

    Accepted: Oct. 9, 2020

    Posted: Oct. 29, 2020

    Published Online: Nov. 3, 2020

    The Author Email: Jie Yuan (, Qian Cheng (

    DOI: 10.3788/COL202018.121704

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    Ting Feng, Yunhao Zhu, Yejing Xie, Dean Ta, Jie Yuan, Qian Cheng. Feasibility study for bone health assessment based on photoacoustic imaging method[J]. Chinese Optics Letters, 2020, 18(12): 121704

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Chinese Optics Letters, Vol. 18, Issue 12, 121704 (2020)

Feasibility study for bone health assessment based on photoacoustic imaging method

Ting Feng1,2, Yunhao Zhu3, Yejing Xie1, Dean Ta4, Jie Yuan3,**, and Qian Cheng2,5,*

Author Affiliations

  • 1School of Electronic and Optical Engineering, Nanjing University of Science and Technology, Nanjing 210094, China
  • 2Institute of Acoustics, School of Physics Science and Engineering, Tongji University, Shanghai 200092, China
  • 3School of Electronic Science and Engineering, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210094, China
  • 4Department of Electronic Engineering, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China
  • 5Key Laboratory of Spine and Spinal Cord Injury Repair and Regeneration of Ministry of Education, Orthopaedic Department of Tongji Hospital, Tongji University School of Medicine, Shanghai 200065, China


This study investigated the feasibility of photoacoustic (PA) imaging of bone and characterization of bone features. By conducting the experiments on bovine femoral heads ex vivo, the light and ultrasonic penetration in bones was studied, together with the depth of PA imaging and measurement in bones. Then, the possibility of three-dimensional (3D) PA imaging of bones by raster scanning of the focusing transducer was studied. The micro-computerized tomography images of the bovine ribs with and without ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) treatment indicated that the 3D PA images could present the changes of bone microstructure resulting from the EDTA treatment. By using PA spectral analysis, the bone samples with and without the treatment of EDTA solution can be distinguished, and the microstructures can be characterized. This study was based on the bovine bone whose size is comparable to human bones, suggesting that PA technology can be used as a novel bone diagnostic technique.


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