The focal point of a high-numerical-aperture (NA) ultrasonic transducer can be used as a virtual point detector. This virtual point detector detects omnidirectionally over a wide acceptance angle. It also combines a large active transducer surface and a small effective virtual detector size. Thus the sensitivity is high compared with that of a real point detector, and the aperture effect is small compared with that of a finite size transducer. We present two kinds of high-NA-based virtual point detectors and their successful application in photoacoustic tomography. They can also be applied in other ultrasound-related fields.

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