Coupling 3D Monte Carlo light transport in optically heterogeneous tissues to photoacoustic signal generation

Steven L. Jacques

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

56 Scopus citations


The generation of photoacoustic signals for imaging objects embedded within tissues is dependent on how well light can penetrate to and deposit energy within an optically absorbing object, such as a blood vessel. This report couples a 3D Monte Carlo simulation of light transport to stress wave generation to predict the acoustic signals received by a detector at the tissue surface. The Monte Carlo simulation allows modeling of optically heterogeneous tissues, and a simple MATLAB™ acoustic algorithm predicts signals reaching a surface detector. An example simulation considers a skin with a pigmented epidermis, a dermis with a background blood perfusion, and a 500-μm-dia. blood vessel centered at a 1-mm depth in the skin. The simulation yields acoustic signals received by a surface detector, which are generated by a pulsed 532-nm laser exposure before and after inserting the blood vessel. A MATLAB™ version of the acoustic algorithm and a link to the 3D Monte Carlo website are provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-142
Number of pages6
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014



  • Heterogeneous tissue
  • Monte Carlo
  • Photoacoustic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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