Photoacoustic tomography (PAT),1–3 which provides images of the optical absorption contrast, holds promise for many biomedical applications while ultrasound imaging (US) is a well established modality based on acoustic contrast of tissues. Both PAT and US usually rely on ultrasonic transducers in contact with the tissue using a coupling fluid (water or gel). Unfortunately, a physical contact is not suitable for many potential applications such as brain surgery.4 Most extracorporeal applications are compatible with the use of a coupling fluid but some, such as burn diagnostic, are not. In ophthalmology, measurements of the retina properties will certainly benefit from non-contact detection on the retina itself or on other inaccessible layers within the eye.5 For small animal imaging6 and photoacoustic microscopy,7,8 immersion in water can be awkward. Consequently, non-contact optical detection of ultrasound in biological tissues is of great interest. Moreover, generation and detection of ultrasound by remote optical means could facilitate endoscopic implementations of PAT and US as well as compatibility with other imaging modalities such as optical coherence tomography (OCT) for multimodal implementations.9 Air-coupled transducers10 have been considered for non-contact PAT, but their limited sensitivity could be difficult to overcome, especially when spatial resolution is needed. Attempts have been made to replace piezoelectric transducers by optical means, but most of these attempts still require contact with the tissue or immersion in water.9,11–14 Most non-contact strategies11,14 need a liquid overlayer (water or oil) in order to reach an acceptable sensitivity by using the specular reflection of the air-liquid interface, which also implies a careful alignment, instead of using the diffuse reflection occurring on the natural surface of biological tissues.