Unlike traditional optical methods, optoacoustic imaging is less sensitive to scattering of ballistic photons, so it is capable of high-resolution interrogation at a greater depth. By integrating video-rate visualization with multiplexing and sensing a range of endogenous and exogenous chromophores, optoacoustic imaging has matured into a versatile noninvasive investigation modality with rapidly expanding use in biomedical research. We review the principal features of the technology and discuss recent advances it has enabled in structural, functional, and molecular neuroimaging in small-animal models. In extending the boundaries of noninvasive observation beyond the reach of customary photonic methods, the latest developments in optoacoustics have substantially advanced neuroimaging inquiry, with promising implications for basic and translational studies.

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