Photo acoustic in life sciences

David Cahen, Gerard Bults, Haim Garty, Shmuel Malkin

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Photoacoustic (PA) measurements provide, by the very nature of the PA effect, the possibility to obtain information on the optical and thermal properties of samples. In addition they can yield information on the enthalpy changes and characteristic times involved in photo-induced processes as the acoustic signal in proportional to the heat produced following the absorption of the modulated excitation. In the study of optical properties the relative insensitivity to scattered light of the PA signal makes such measurement an attractive way to measure biological samples in vivo, or, at least, withpout the need to isolated the absorbing compounds. The dependence of the PA signal on the thermal properties of the sample is particularly useful when heterogeneous samples are studied. As a photocalorimetric method the technique shows considerable promise in the study of photo-biogenergetics, especially photosynthesis. Only in special cases can analytical applications of the method compete with fluorescence measurements (for detection), and with increasingly sophisticated optical transmission and reflectance techniques (for identification). However, the PA method may find important uses in fundamental research and in applied areas such as biomedicine and agricultural biochemistry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-310
Number of pages18
JournalTopics in Catalysis
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1980
Externally publishedYes


  • calorimetry
  • optical absorptions
  • optoacoustics
  • photoacoustics
  • thermal properties


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