Abstract Photoacoustic imaging combines advantages of both ultrasound imaging and optical imaging to provide high ultrasonic resolution and high optical contrast in noninvasive medical images. A photoacoustic computer tomography （PCT） system with a focused digital phased array transducer is proposed. In particular each element of the transducer array has a thin cylindrical ultrasonic lens to select 2D image plane and suppress the out-of-plane signals to realize photoacoustic computed tomography. A fast full-view photoacoustic imaging system for visualizing tissue structures using a linear transducer array with combined scan, whies; detects photoacoustic signals by combined electronic and mechanical scanning. An improved limited-field filtered back projection algorithm with directivity factors was applied to reconstruct the optical absorption distribution and further improve the lateral resolution. In the experiment, the spatial resolution of this imaging system is determined as 0.2mm, and the slice resolution of Z axis is 1.5mm. Mechanical step scanning was performed, leading to a measurement time of 6.4 seconds per position, and a total scan duration of 150 seconds to obtain the two-dimensional photoacoustic image. High spatial resolution of 2D photoacoustic vascular image and quasi-3D photoacoustic CT for breast cancer imaging are achicned. The experimental results demonstrate that this method and imaging system can realize the high resolution photoacoustic tomography wtich can be applied to noninvasive detection of early breast cancer.