Abstract

Most instruments used to measure tissue optical properties noninvasively employ data-analysis algorithms that rely on the simplifying assumption that the tissue is semi-infinite and homogeneous. The influence of a layered tissue architecture on the determination of the scattering and absorption coefficients has been investigated in this study. Reflectance as a function of distance from a point source for a two-layered tissue architecture that simulates skin overlying fat was calculated by using a Monte Carlo code. These data were analyzed by using a diffusion theory model for a homogeneous semi-infinite medium to calculate the scatter and absorption coefficients. Depending on the algorithm and the radial distance, the estimated tissue optical properties were different from those of either layer, and under some circumstances, physically impossible. In addition, the sensitivity and cross talk of the estimated optical properties to changes in input optical properties were calculated for different layered geometries. For typical optical properties of skin, the sensitivity to changes in optical properties is highly dependent on the layered architecture, the measurement distance, and the fitting algorithm. Furthermore, a change in the input absorption coefficient may result in an apparent change in the measured scatter coefficient, and a change in the input scatter coefficient may result in an apparent change in the measured absorption coefficient.

© 1998 Optical Society of America

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