Photothermal therapy and ablation are commonplace medical procedures employed for treatment of tumors, vascular and brain abnormalities as well as other disorders that require selective destruction of tissues. Yet, accurate mapping of the dynamic temperature field distribution in the treated region represents an unmet clinical need, strongly affecting the clinical outcome of these interventions. We introduce a fast three-dimensional temperature mapping method based on real-time optoacoustic sensing of the treated region coupled with a thermal-diffusion-based model of heat distribution in tissues. Deviations of the optoacoustic temperature readings provided at 40  ms intervals remained below 10% in tissue-mimicking phantom experiments for temperature elevations above 3 °C, as validated by simultaneous thermocouple measurements. Performance of the new method to dynamically estimate the volumetric temperature distribution was further showcased in post-mortem mouse imaging experiments. The newly discovered capacity to non-invasively measure the temperature map in an entire treated volume with both high spatial and temporal resolutions holds potential for improving safety and efficacy of light-based therapeutic interventions.

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