The high complementarity of ultrasonography and optoacoustic tomography has prompted the development of combined approaches that utilize the same transducer array for detecting both optoacoustic and pulse-echo ultrasound responses from tissues. Yet, due to the fundamentally different physical contrast and image formation mechanisms, the development of detection technology optimally suited for image acquisition in both modalities remains a major challenge. Herein, we introduce a multi-segment detector array approach incorporating array segments of linear and concave geometry to optimally support both ultrasound and optoacoustic image acquisition. The various image rendering strategies are tested and optimized in numerical simulations and calibrated tissue-mimicking phantom experiments. We subsequently demonstrate real-time hybrid optoacoustic ultrasound image acquisition in a healthy volunteer. The new approach enables the acquisition of high-quality anatomical data by both modalities complemented by functional information on blood oxygenation status provided by the multispectral optoacoustic tomography.

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