Abstract

An experimental study of the detectability of an object embedded in optically tissue-equivalent media by frequency-domain image reconstruction is presented. The experiments were performed in an 86-mm-diameter cylindrical phantom containing an optically homogeneous cylindrical target whose absorption and scattering properties presented a 2:1 contrast with the background medium. The parameter space explored during experimentation involved object size (15-, 8-, and 4-mm targets) and location (centered, 20-mm off-centered, and 35-mm off-centered) variations. Image reconstruction was achieved with a previously reported regularized least-squares approach that incorporates finite-element solutions of the diffusion equation and Newton’s method solutions of the nonlinear minimization problem. Also included during image formation were image enhancement schemes—(1) total variation minimization, (2) dual meshing, and (3) spatial low-pass filtering—which have recently been added. Quantitative measures of image quality including the size, location, and shape of the heterogeneity along with errors in its recovered optical property values are used to quantify the image reconstructions. The results show that a near 22:1 ratio of tissue thickness relative to detectable object size has been achieved with this approach in the laboratory conditions and parameter space that have been investigated.

© 1997 Optical Society of America

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