The information content of data types in time-domain optical tomography is quantified by studying the detectability of signals in the attenuation and reduced scatter coefficients. Detection in both uniform and structured backgrounds is considered, and our results show a complex dependence of spatial detectability maps on the type of signal, data type, and background. In terms of the detectability of lesions, the mean time of arrival of photons and the total number of counts effectively summarize the information content of the full temporal waveform. A methodology for quantifying information content prior to reconstruction without assumptions of linearity is established, and the importance of signal and background characterization is highlighted.
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