We present a hybrid preclinical imaging scanner that optimally supports image acquisition in both reflection-mode ultrasonography and optoacoustic (OA) tomography modes. The system comprises a quasi-full-ring tomographic geometry capable of the simultaneous dual-mode imaging through entire cross sections of mice with in-plane spatial resolution in the range of 150 and 350 μm in the respective OA and ultrasound (US) imaging modes with an imaging speed of up to 10 two-dimensional frames per second. Three-dimensional whole-body data is subsequently rendered by rapid scanning of the imaged plane. The system further incorporates rapid laser wavelength tuning for real-time acquisition of multispectral OA data, which enables studies of longitudinal dynamics as well as fast kinetics and biodistribution of contrast agents. In vivo imaging performance is demonstrated by label-free hybrid anatomical scans through living mice, as well as real-time visualization of optical contrast agent perfusion. By setting new standards for whole-body tomographic imaging performance in both the OA and pulse-echo US modes, the developed hybrid imaging approach is expected to benefit numerous applications where the availability of high-quality structural information provided by the tomographic reflection-mode US can ease interpretation of the functional and molecular imaging results attained by the OA modality.

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