Design and Construction of a Low-Cost Mechanical Scanning System and Control Interface for Scanning Acoustic and Photoacoustic Microscopy

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

Bulletin of the American Physical Society

Conference Name

Spring 2021 Meeting of the APS Ohio-Region Section


We have designed and started construction of an instrument that will be able to serve as both a scanning acoustic microscope (SAM) and photoacoustic microscope (PAM). This instrument will be capable of imaging the volume of optically opaque specimens that are approximately 2 cm x 2 cm in lateral dimensions with both acoustic and optical contrast. When operating as a SAM, the specimen will be water-coupled to a high-frequency ultrasound transducer operating in pulse-echo mode. When operating as a PAM, short light pulses (\textasciitilde 100 ns, 5 to 10 μJ/pulse) from a 905 nm infrared laser diode located under the specimen will generate ultrasound pulses thermoelastically, which will then be received by a confocal high-frequency transducer. In both cases, the specimen will be raster-scanned under the transducer by a moving stage. The mechanical scanning system was designed and built using a spring-loaded microscope stage, micrometers, stepper motors, a shield board used for 3D printers, an Arduino Mega microcontroller, and a Raspberry Pi 4 microcomputer. A graphical user interface was written in Python using Tkinter to send the motion control commands to the stage. Future work will include incorporation of the laser and transducer control systems.


Support was provided by a Kettering University Faculty Research Fellowship.

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