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In the present paper the requirements for optical parameter characterization of absorbing materials located within a highly scattering medium has been addressed. The measurement scheme incorporates the optoacoustic technique where a single acoustic transducer is used to detect ultrasonic transients generated from laser irradiation. The absorbing medium is based on different concentrations of spherical gold nanoparticles (SGNP's), these are currently being considered as non-toxic targeted optical contrast agents for both medical imaging and cancer therapeutics. In this paper we present results which demonstrate the two main advantages the optoacoustic technique has over other measurement schemes. These are the possibility to obtain information on the position and dimensions of absorbing bodies using a time of flight analysis (TOF) and secondly, the higher sensitivity of the optoacoustics compared to optical transmission techniques. The former advantage is of particular interest for imaging applications and the latter for detection and characterization of absorbing materials surrounded by high levels of high scattering mediums. We present for the first time the characterization of SGNP within a highly scattering medium. To further demonstrate the feasibility of the optoacoustic technique, the scattering coefficient of the surrounding medium has also been characterized.