While the majority of photoacoustic imaging systems used custom-made transducer arrays, commercially-available linear transducer arrays hold the benefits of affordable price, handheld convenience and wide clinical recognition. They are not widely used in photoacoustic imaging primarily because of the poor elevation resolution. Here, without modifying the imaging geometry and system, we propose addressing this limitation purely through image reconstruction. Our approach is based on the integration of two advanced image reconstruction techniques: focal-line-based three-dimensional image reconstruction and coherent weighting. We first numerically validated our approach through simulation and then experimentally tested it in phantom and in vivo. Both simulation and experimental results proved that the method can significantly improve the elevation resolution (up to 4 times in our experiment) and enhance object contrast.
Keywords: (100.0100) Image processing; (110.5120) Photoacoustic imaging; (110.5125) Photoacoustics.