Computer simulation of pressure wave generation in biological media by pulsed lasers with various beam profiles

Steven L. Jacques

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Pressure waves can be generated in biological tissues by pulsed lasers which deposit optical energy in absorbing structures such as blood vessels. Arrays of acoustic detectors on a tissue surface can sense the arrival of such waves. Analysis of the time-resolved signals can be used to reconstruct the 3-D distribution of the absorbing structures. In this report, a computer simulation was developed (see code listed in Appendix) to predict the time-resolved spatial distribution of pressure in a tissue in response to a pulse laser beam. In particular, the temporal history of pressure generated in a sphere of uniform energy deposition was calculated to illustrate the calibration of the computation. The temporal histories of pressures generated by a flat-field beam and a Gaussian-profile beam are also presented. The results show that the sharp edge of the flat-field beam yields tensile pressure wave and the pressure pattern is significantly different than the pressures produced by the smoother Gaussia-profile beam. The computer simulation is a very simple computation that is a valuable tool for predicting expected experimental results, and may be used in a reconstruction algorithm. This paper can be viewed at

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-103
Number of pages12
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002
EventSaratov Fall Meeting 2002 Optical Technologies in Biophysics and Medicine IV - Saratov, Russian Federation
Duration: Oct 1 2002Oct 4 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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