Author's School

School of Engineering and Applied Science

Author's School

School of Engineering & Applied Science

Author's Department/Program

Biomedical Engineering

Author's Department/Program

Biomedical Engineering


English (en)

Date of Award

Summer 9-1-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Chair and Committee

Mark A. Anastasio


Photoacoustic computed tomography (PACT), also known as optoacoustic or thermoacoustic tomography, is a rapidly emerging hybrid imaging modality that combines optical image contrast with ultrasound detection. The majority of currently available PACT image reconstruction algorithms are based on idealized imaging models that assume a lossless and acoustically homogeneous medium. However, in many applications of PACT these assumptions are violated and the induced photoacoustic (PA) wavefields are scattered and absorbed as they propagate to the receiving transducers. In those applications of PACT, the reconstructed images can contain significant distortions and artifacts if the inhomogeneous acoustic properties of the object are not accounted for in the reconstruction algorithm. In this dissertation, we develop and investigate a full-wave approach to iterative image reconstruction in PACT with acoustically heterogeneous lossy media. A key contribution of this work is the establishment of a discrete imaging model that is based on the exact PA wave equation and a procedure to implement an associated matched discrete forward and backprojection

operator pair, which permits application of a variety of modern iterative image reconstruction algorithms that can mitigate the effects of noise, data incompleteness and model errors. Another key contribution is the development of an optimization approach to joint reconstruction (JR) of absorbed optical energy density and speed of sound in PACT, which is utilized to investigate the numerical properties of the JR problem and its feasibility in practice. We also develop a TR-based methodology to compensate for heterogeneous acoustic attenuation that obeys a frequency power law. In addition, we propose a image reconstruction methodology for transcranial PACT that employs detailed subject-specific descriptions of the acoustic properties of the skull to mitigate skull-induced distortions in the reconstructed image.


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