Thermoacoustic imaging and spectroscopy for enhanced breast cancer detection

Daniel R. Bauer, Xiong Wang, Jeff Vollin, Hao Xin, Russell S. Witte

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

8 Scopus citations


Early detection of breast cancer is paramount for improved survival. Mammography, the gold standard for diagnostic breast imaging, has limited spatial resolution and often misses early tumors. In thermoacoustic (TA) imaging an incident microwave pulse is converted to ultrasound via localized thermoelastic expansion and creates an image of the sample's absorption. Single frequency thermoacoustic imaging failed in clinical studies to reliably discriminate malignant from healthy tissue. We hypothesize that limitations in TA technology severely reduced the capability and performance of previous imaging systems. We present initial experimental results using thermoacoustic imaging and spectroscopy for discrimination of fat and muscle tissue, water content and ethanol. This study demonstrates multi-frequency thermoacoustic spectroscopy using both the magnitude and slope of the TA signal between 2.7 and 3.1 GHz. The average slope of the thermoacoustic signal for ethanol was calculated to be -0.45 a.u./GHz, while water had an average TA slope of 0.56 a.u./GHz, clearly differentiating the two regions and consistent with their microwave absorption properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2011 IEEE International Ultrasonics Symposium, IUS 2011
Number of pages4
StatePublished - 2011
Event2011 IEEE International Ultrasonics Symposium, IUS 2011 - Orlando, FL, United States
Duration: Oct 18 2011Oct 21 2011

Publication series

NameIEEE International Ultrasonics Symposium, IUS
ISSN (Print)1948-5719
ISSN (Electronic)1948-5727


Other2011 IEEE International Ultrasonics Symposium, IUS 2011
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityOrlando, FL


  • breast imaging
  • early stage breast cancer
  • mammography
  • microwave imaging
  • photoacoustic spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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