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Biomed Opt Express. 2010 Nov 29;1(5):1514-1531.

Singular value decomposition metrics show limitations of detector design in diffuse fluorescence tomography.

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Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College, 8000 Cummings Hall, Hanover, NH 03755, USA.


The spatial resolution and recovered contrast of images reconstructed from diffuse fluorescence tomography data are limited by the high scattering properties of light propagation in biological tissue. As a result, the image reconstruction process can be exceedingly vulnerable to inaccurate prior knowledge of tissue optical properties and stochastic noise. In light of these limitations, the optimal source-detector geometry for a fluorescence tomography system is non-trivial, requiring analytical methods to guide design. Analysis of the singular value decomposition of the matrix to be inverted for image reconstruction is one potential approach, providing key quantitative metrics, such as singular image mode spatial resolution and singular data mode frequency as a function of singular mode. In the present study, these metrics are used to analyze the effects of different sources of noise and model errors as related to image quality in the form of spatial resolution and contrast recovery. The image quality is demonstrated to be inherently noise-limited even when detection geometries were increased in complexity to allow maximal tissue sampling, suggesting that detection noise characteristics outweigh detection geometry for achieving optimal reconstructions.

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