MSc thesis project proposal

Photoacoustic techniques for plaque detection

Project outside the university


Photoacoustic imaging is a technique where a light pulse is absorbed by a tissue chromophore, followed by thermoelastic expansion that creates ultrasound waves. These waves can be detected and reconstructed to an image. Previous research showed that spectroscopic analysis of photoacoustic images revealed plaque-specific lipid accumulation and composition in the artery wall, showing the potential to identify lipid profiles in-vivo. This may, in the future, help with revealing early stage disease, following disease progression or treatment decisions.

In the ErasmusMC we are planning a feasibility study, where we want to perform spectroscopic photoacoustic imaging to identify different plaque compositions patients with carotid artery atherosclerosis. But before we can do that, we need an optical probe for optimal light delivery. Currently we are working on an internal illumination approach where, via an optical fiber, light is administered to the airway surface.


The optical probe will be composed of small side-firing fiber, but needs to be designed taking requirements like flexibility, energy administration and patient safety into account.

After the optical probe is designed, it will be produced in the workplace of the ErasmusMC. Finally, a tissue-mimicking phantom should be made to test the performance of the optical probe. Photoacoustic experiments in ex vivo settings will show the performance of the designed optical probe. 

The knowledge resulting from this project will be used in the future in vivo measurements performed in a feasibility study.

This project is in collaboration with Jonas Riksen and Prof. Gijs van Soest from Erasmus Medical Centre.


prof.dr. Paddy French

Bioelectronics Group

Department of Microelectronics

Last modified: 2021-12-27