Abstract

Imaging of oxygen in tissue in three dimensions can be accomplished by using the phosphorescence quenching method in combination with diffuse optical tomography. We experimentally demonstrate the feasibility of tomographic imaging of oxygen by phosphorescence lifetime. Hypoxic phantoms were immersed in a cylinder with scattering solution equilibrated with air. The phantoms and the medium inside the cylinder contained near-infrared phosphorescent probe(s). Phosphorescence at multiple boundary sites was registered in the time domain at different delays (td) following the excitation pulse. The duration of the excitation pulse (tp) was regulated to optimize the contrast in the images. The reconstructed integral intensity images, corresponding to delays td, were fitted exponentially to give the phosphorescence lifetime image, which was converted into the three-dimensional image of oxygen concentrations in the volume. The time-independent diffusion equation and the finite element method were used to model the light transport in the medium. The inverse problem was solved by the recursive maximum entropy method. We provide what we believe to be the first example of oxygen imaging in three dimensions using long-lived phosphorescent probes and establish the potential of these probes for diffuse optical tomography.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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