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J Biomed Opt. 2006 Jul-Aug;11(4):044008.

Time-gated optical system for depth-resolved functional brain imaging.

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  • 1Massachusetts General Hospital, Athinoula A. Martinos Center, Photon Migration Imaging Laboratory, Building 149, 13th Street, Charlestown, Massachusetts 02129, USA.


We present a time-domain optical system for functional imaging of the adult head. We first describe the instrument, which is based on a Ti:Sapphire pulsed laser (wavelength 750-850 nm) and an intensified CCD camera enabling parallel detection of multiple fibers. We characterize the system in terms of sensitivity and signal-to-noise ratio, instrument response function, cross-talk, stability, and reproducibility. We then describe two applications of the instrument: the characterization of baseline optical properties of homogeneous scattering media, and functional brain imaging. For the second application, we developed a two-part probe consisting in two squares of 4 x 4 sources and 3 x 3 detectors. The laser source is time-multiplexed to define 4 states of 8 sources that can be turned on during the same camera frame while minimizing cross-talk. On the detection side, we use for each detector 7 fibers of different lengths creating an optical delay, and enabling simultaneous detection in 7 windows (by steps of 500 ps) for each detector. This multiple window detection allows depth sensitivity. The imaging probe was tested on dynamic phantoms and a preliminary result on an adult performing a motor task shows discrimination between superficial and cortical responses to the stimulus on both hemispheres.

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