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J Biomed Opt. 2010 Nov-Dec;15(6):065006. doi: 10.1117/1.3523371.

Experimental measurement of time-dependent photon scatter for diffuse optical tomography.

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  • 1Northeastern University, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Dana Research Center, Boston, MA, USA.


Time-resolved measurement of early arriving photons through diffusive media has been shown to effectively reduce the high degree of light scatter in biological tissue. However, the experimentally achievable reduction in photon scatter and the impact of time-gated detection on instrument noise performance is not well understood. We measure time-dependent photon density sensitivity functions (PDSFs) between a pulsed laser source and a photomultiplier tube operating in time-correlated single-photon-counting mode. Our data show that with our system, measurement of early arriving photons reduces the full width half maximum of PDSFs on average by about 40 to 60% versus quasicontinuous wave photons over a range of experimental conditions similar to those encountered in small animal tomography, corresponding to a 64 to 84% reduction in PDSF volume. Factoring in noise considerations, the optimal operating point of our instrument is determined to be about the 10% point on the rising edge of the transmitted intensity curve. Time-dependent Monte Carlo simulations and the time-resolved diffusion approximation are used to model photon propagation and are evaluated for agreement with experimental data.

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