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In Biomedical optics express

In circular scan photoacoustic tomography (PAT), the axial resolution is spatially invariant and is limited by the bandwidth of the detector. However, the tangential resolution is spatially variant and is dependent on the aperture size of the detector. In particular, the tangential resolution improves with the decreasing aperture size. However, using a detector with a smaller aperture reduces the sensitivity of the transducer. Thus, large aperture size detectors are widely preferred in circular scan PAT imaging systems. Although several techniques have been proposed to improve the tangential resolution, they have inherent limitations such as high cost and the need for customized detectors. Herein, we propose a novel deep learning architecture to counter the spatially variant tangential resolution in circular scanning PAT imaging systems. We used a fully dense U-Net based convolutional neural network architecture along with 9 residual blocks to improve the tangential resolution of the PAT images. The network was trained on the simulated datasets and its performance was verified by experimental in vivo imaging. Results show that the proposed deep learning network improves the tangential resolution by eight folds, without compromising the structural similarity and quality of image.

Rajendran Praveenbalaji, Pramanik Manojit