Abstract

Our objective is to perform a comprehensive experimental and numerical analysis of the short-pulse laser interaction with a tissue medium with the goal of tumor–cancer diagnostics. For a short-pulse laser source, the shape of the output signal is a function of the optical properties of the medium, and hence the scattered temporal optical signal helps in understanding the medium characteristics. Initially experiments are performed on tissue phantoms embedded with inhomogeneities to optimize the time-resolved optical detection scheme. Both the temporal and the spatial profiles of the scattered reflected and transmitted optical signals are compared with the numerical modeling results obtained by solving the transient radiative transport equation using the discrete ordinates technique. Next experiments are performed on in vitro rat tissue samples to characterize the interaction of light with skin layers and to validate the time-varying optical signatures with the numerical model. The numerical modeling results and the experimental measurements are in excellent agreement for the different parameters studied. The final step is to perform in vivo imaging of anesthetized rats with tumor-promoting agents injected inside skin tissues and of an anesthetized mouse with mammary tumors to demonstrate the feasibility of the technique for detecting tumors in an animal model.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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