A method and apparatus for identifying a sample, involves illuminating the sample with light of varying wavelengths, transmitting an acoustic signal against the sample from one portion and receiving a resulting acoustic signal on another portion, detecting a change of phase in the acoustic signal corresponding to the light of varying wavelengths, and analyzing the change of phase in the acoustic signal for the varying wavelengths of illumination to identify the sample. The apparatus has a controlled source for illuminating the sample with light of varying wavelengths, a transmitter for transmitting an acoustic wave, a receiver for receiving the acoustic wave and converting the acoustic wave to an electronic signal, and an electronic circuit for detecting a change of phase in the acoustic wave corresponding to respective ones of the varying wavelengths and outputting the change of phase for the varying wavelengths to allow identification of the sample. The method and apparatus can be used to detect chemical composition or visual features. A transmission mode and a reflection mode of operation are disclosed. The method and apparatus can be applied at nanoscale to detect molecules in a biological sample.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH
This invention was made with Government support under Contract No. DE-AC05-000R22725 awarded to UT-Battelle, LLC, by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in this invention.