A novel method is presented for accurately reconstructing a spatially resolved map of diffuse light flux on a surface using images of the surface and a model of the imaging system. This is achieved by applying a model-based reconstruction algorithm with an existing forward model of light propagation through free space that accounts for the effects of perspective, focus, and imaging geometry. It is shown that flux can be mapped reliably and quantitatively accurately with very low error, with modest signal-to-noise ratio. Simulation shows that the method is generalizable to the case in which mirrors are used in the system and therefore multiple views can be combined in reconstruction. Validation experiments show that physical diffuse phantom surface fluxes can also be reconstructed accurately with variability for a range of object positions, variable states of focus, and different orientations. The method provides a new way of making quantitatively accurate noncontact measurements of the amount of light leaving a diffusive medium, such as a small animal containing fluorescent or bioluminescent markers, that is independent of the imaging system configuration and surface position.
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