We present a detailed characterization of a system for fast time-resolved spectroscopy of turbid media based on supercontinuum generation in a photonic crystal fiber. The light source provides subpicosecond pulses in the 550–1000-nm spectral range, at 85 MHz, at an average power of up to 50 mW. Wavelength-resolved detection is accomplished by means of a spectrometer coupled to a 16-channel, multianode photomultiplier tube, giving a resolution of 4.5–35 nm/channel, depending on the grating. Time-dispersion curves are acquired with time-correlated single-photon counting, and absorption and reduced scattering coefficients are determined by fitting the data to the diffusion equation. We characterized the system by measuring the time-resolved diffuse reflectance of epoxy phantoms and by assessing the performance in terms of accuracy, linearity, noise sensitivity, stability, and reproducibility. The results were similar to those from previous systems, whereas the full-spectrum (6103810 nm) acquisition time was as short as 1 s owing to the parallel acquisition. We also present the first in vivo real-time dynamic spectral measurements showing tissue oxygenation changes in the arm of a human subject.
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