The Impact of Compact Photoacoustic Sensing Instruments on Biomedical Diagnostics

A portable, reasonably priced photoacoustic sensing device promises to accelerate and improve clinical diagnostics for better patient outcomes.

The photoacoustic spectral response (PASR) sensing instrument is based on low-cost laser diodes. Image Credit: Khan et al.

The photoacoustic spectral response (PASR) sensing instrument is based on low-cost laser diodes. Image Credit: Khan et al.

The search for reliable and effective diagnostic instruments is a never-ending process in the field of biological sciences. The photoacoustic (PA) technique is one such innovative breakthrough that is gaining traction. Over the last ten years, PA imaging has proven to be a practical imaging technique with positive results in numerous clinical settings.

Although PA provides a noninvasive method of probing biological tissues in contrast to traditional methods, its wide clinical application has been limited, partly because of the large and costly laser sources.

Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology Indore recently presented a ground-breaking invention in a study that was published in the Journal of Biomedical Optics: a small and reasonably priced PA sensing device made especially for biomedical tissue diagnosis.

This proof-of-concept investigation uses an inexpensive diode laser. It is an important step in closing the gap that exists between clinical applications and laboratory research.

PA for Breast Tissue Diagnosis

The study examined the complexities of fibrocystic changes, a condition that is sometimes overshadowed by the threat of breast cancer, with a focus on the complex landscape of breast tissue. Clinicians may encounter difficulties in diagnosing fibrocystic changes because they can present as palpable cystic masses and breast pain. Furthermore, the peritumoral breast parenchyma is prone to these alterations, which makes diagnosis even more challenging.

Even though they are frequently used, current diagnostic modalities like mammography and ultrasound frequently fail to provide the precision and insight required for an accurate diagnosis. Despite being a mainstay of diagnostic procedures, fine needle aspiration cytology is hampered by sampling problems, requiring more invasive techniques like core needle biopsies or surgical interventions.

Presenting the PA technique, a ray of hope in the dark world of uncertain diagnosis. With the help of this creative method, biological tissues can be probed using laser diodes to produce acoustic waves that reveal important details about the density and composition of the tissue. Through the examination of the PA signals' frequency spectrum, scientists were able to distinguish clear patterns between breast tissues that were healthy and those that were sick.

Compact and Cost-Effective PA Sensing

This new device combines a number of laser diodes into a small housing with a specially designed pulsed current supply unit. With this configuration, accurate 25 nanosecond pulses at a frequency of 20 kHz are generated, ensuring effective PA excitation. Calculating frequency spectra was a step in the subsequent data analysis process that evaluated tissue properties quantitatively.

The findings showed that various tissue types corresponded to distinct spectral patterns. For example, a dominant frequency peak at 1.60 MHz was observed in fibrocystic breast disease, which suggests that there is increased tissue density as a result of elevated glandular and stromal elements. On the other hand, the fibrofatty composition of normal breast tissue was reflected in a lower peak frequency of 0.26 MHz.

Moreover, histological analysis confirmed these results, confirming the association between spectral responses and tissue properties. Notably, using quantitative spectral parameters like peak frequency, mean frequency, and spectral energy, the experimental setup was able to successfully differentiate between different types of tissue.

Promise for Clinical Practice

Most importantly, the study highlights how PA technology can be used to improve diagnostic precision while also streamlining the pathological breast tissue sample process. The compact PA sensing instrument has the potential to completely transform clinical practice because of its capacity to provide quick and thorough tissue characterization.

All things considered, this study is a major step toward providing physicians with a quick, accurate, and affordable method of diagnosing breast disease. This small PA sensing device has the potential to transform biomedical practices by providing timely interventions and better patient outcomes through fast and affordable tissue diagnosis.

Journal Reference

Suhel Khan, S., (2024) Development of a cost-effective compact diode-laser-based photoacoustic sensing instrument for breast tissue diagnosis. Journal of Biomedical Optics.


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