Abstract

If a single optical fiber is used for both delivery and collection of light, two major factors affect the measurement of collected light: (1) the light transport in the medium that describes the amount of light that returns to the fiber and (2) the light coupling to the optical fiber that depends on the angular distribution of photons entering the fiber. We focus on the importance of the latter factor and describe how the efficiency of the coupling depends on the optical properties of the medium. For highly scattering tissues, the efficiency is well predicted by the numerical aperture (NA) of the fiber. For lower scattering, such as in soft tissues, photons arrive at the fiber from deeper depths, and the coupling efficiency could increase twofold to threefold above that predicted by the NA.

© 2003 Optical Society of America

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