Paper on Photoacoustic Imaging published in Physics Education

May 17, 2016 | News

A paper presenting a system for demonstrating photoacoustic effect for educational purposes has been published in the Physics Education journal.

Photoacoustic (PA) imaging has great potential for overcoming the limitations in penetration depth and spatial resolution of traditional optical imaging, improving blood flow monitoring in fetal surgery. PA imaging combines light excitation with ultrasound reception, which can be difficult to explain to broad audiences who have differing levels of experience in Physics.

The Music-of-Light Stethoscope was developed to explain PA imaging to the public in an interactive manner at the 2015 Bloomsbury Festival. This accessible demonstration unit was built using a modulated LED torch and an electronic stethoscope. The output of a digital device, such as a smartphone, was used for light modulation and the chestpiece of the stethoscope covered by a black tape was used as an absorbing target.

As the demonstration was compatible with any modern device capable of playing music audience members were able connect their own devices through a headphone port and play their own music, to further increase interaction. The demonstration was paired with explanations of photoacoustic imaging and how this is being used in fetal surgery by GIFT-Surg.

The published paper suggests how the stethoscope can be used by physics teachers as a demonstration for secondary school pupils, raising awareness of the fields of fetal surgery, image-guided interventional surgery and engineering in healthcare. The demonstration kit provides a stimulating way of teaching pupils some basic concepts of physics, and a motivation to select studies across STEM subjects.

  • D I Nikitichev W Xia, E Hill, C A Mosse, T Perkins, K Konyn, S Ourselin, A. E. Desjardins, T Vercauteren Music-of-Light Stethoscope: A Demonstration of the Photoacoustic Effect (Photoacoustic Stereo) (Physics Education, April 2016)

Read paper in full