De-Noising of Photoacoustic Microscopy Images by Deep Learning

Da He, Jiasheng Zhou, Xiaoyu Shang, Jiajia Luo, Sung-Liang Chen

As a hybrid imaging technology, photoacoustic microscopy (PAM) imaging suffers from noise due to the maximum permissible exposure of laser intensity, attenuation of ultrasound in the tissue, and the inherent noise of the transducer. De-noising is a post-processing method to reduce noise, and PAM image quality can be recovered. However, previous de-noising techniques usually heavily rely on mathematical priors as well as manually selected parameters, resulting in unsatisfactory and slow de-noising performance for different noisy images, which greatly hinders practical and clinical applications. In this work, we propose a deep learning-based method to remove complex noise from PAM images without mathematical priors and manual selection of settings for different input images. An attention enhanced generative adversarial network is used to extract image features and remove various noises. The proposed method is demonstrated on both synthetic and real datasets, including phantom (leaf veins) and in vivo (mouse ear blood vessels and zebrafish pigment) experiments. The results show that compared with previous PAM de-noising methods, our method exhibits good performance in recovering images qualitatively and quantitatively. In addition, the de-noising speed of 0.016 s is achieved for an image with $256\times256$ pixels. Our approach is effective and practical for the de-noising of PAM images.

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