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Med Phys. 2006 Dec;33(12):4685-700.

Radiative transport in fluorescence-enhanced frequency domain photon migration.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, Baylor College of Medicine, One Baylor Plaza, MS: BCM 360, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


Small animal optical tomography has significant, but potential application for streamlining drug discovery and pre-clinical investigation of drug candidates. However, accurate modeling of photon propagation in small animal volumes is critical to quantitatively obtain accurate tomographic images. Herein we present solutions from a robust fluorescence-enhanced, frequency domain radiative transport equation (RTE) solver with unique attributes that facilitate its deployment within tomographic algorithms. Specifically, the coupled equations describing time-dependent excitation and emission light transport are solved using discrete ordinates (SN) angular differencing along with linear discontinuous finite-element spatial differencing on unstructured tetrahedral grids. Source iteration in conjunction with diffusion synthetic acceleration is used to iteratively solve the resulting system of equations. This RTE solver can accurately and efficiently predict ballistic as well as diffusion limited transport regimes which could simultaneously exist in small animals. Furthermore, the solver provides accurate solutions on unstructured, tetrahedral grids with relatively large element sizes as compared to commonly employed solvers that use step differencing. The predictions of the solver are validated by a series of frequency-domain, phantom measurements with optical properties ranging from diffusion limited to transport limited propagation. Our results demonstrate that the RTE solution consistently matches measurements made under both diffusion and transport-limited conditions. This work demonstrates the use of an appropriate RTE solver for deployment in small animal optical tomography.

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