Imec is developing an extremely efficient opto-mechanical photonic chip technology for application as ultrasound sensor to enable future photo-acoustic-imaging microsystems. The objective of this MSc Thesis is to develop new photo-acoustic imaging algorithms tailored to this sensor.
Photo-acoustic imaging (also called opto-acoustic imaging) is the youngest and the most rapidly advancing modality in medical imaging (see e.g. L.V. Wang, and J. Yao, ‘A practical guide to photoacoustic tomography in the life sciences’, Nature Methods, 13(8), pp. 627–638, 2016; or https://youtu.be/Y3IU9-Q8qaY). This hybrid technology combines rich optical contrast with ultrasonic resolution deep in body tissue. To create a photo-acoustic image, pulses of laser light are shone onto body tissue where the photons are absorbed by tissue and partially converted into heat. The harmless heat-induced expansion emits an ultrasonic pressure wave that is picked up at the skull by ultrasound sensors. Like optical microscopy, chromophores absorb specific optical frequencies so that different types of molecule can be distinguished. Unlike optical microscopy, photo-acoustic imaging depth is not limited by optical diffusion because the ultrasonic waves are much less distorted by tissue.
At Imec we developed new ultra-sensitive opto-mechanical ultrasound sensors with ultrasound characteristics (e.g. bandwidth) different from the traditional piezo-electric ultrasound sensors. Therefore, imaging algorithms need to be developed especially for this new sensor. In this MSc thesis, you will study existing ultrasonic / photo-acoustic imaging algorithms, study the behavior of this new ultrasound sensor, and develop imaging algorithms especially for these new sensors. You will work with an experimental researcher who will provide you with measured data to directly test your algorithm on experimental results. We are looking forward to accurate and beautiful images!
Wang, L. V. and Yao, J. (2016) ‘A practical guide to photoacoustic tomography in the life sciences’, Nature Methods, 13(8), pp. 627–638.
Leinders, S. M. et al. (2015) ‘A sensitive optical micro-machined ultrasound sensor (OMUS) based on a silicon photonic ring resonator on an acoustical membrane’, Scientific Reports, 5(c), p. 1417744.
M. Matsumoto et. al. (2018), Label-free photoacoustic imaging of human palmar vessels: a structural morphological analysis, Scientific Reports 8, article number 786 (2018).
Type of project: Internship, Thesis
Duration: 6-12 months
Required degree: Master of Engineering Technology, Master of Science, Master of Engineering Science
Required background: Nanoscience & Nanotechnology, Physics
Supervising scientist(s): For further information or for application, please contact: Wouter Westerveld (Wouter.Westerveld@imec.be)