Optical image reconstruction in a heterogeneous turbid medium with the use of frequency-domain measurements is investigated in detail. A finite-element reconstruction algorithm for optical data based on a diffusion equation approximation is presented and confirmed by a series of simulations and experiments using phantoms having optical properties in the range of those expected for tissues. Simultaneous reconstruction of absorption and scattering coefficients is achieved both theoretically and experimentally. Images with different target locations and contrast levels between target and background are also successfully recovered. All reconstructed images from both simulated and experimental data are derived directly from absolute optical data in which no differential measurement scheme is used. Results from the use of simulated and measured data suggest that quantitative images can be produced in terms of absorption and scattering coefficient values and location, size, and shape of heterogeneities within a circular background region over a range of contrast levels. Further, the effects of modulation frequency are found to be relatively modest, although boundary conditions appear to be important factors.
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