Abstract

A diffusion model describing the propagation of photon flux in the epidermal, dermal, and subcutaneous tissue layers of the skin is presented. Assuming that the skin is illuminated by a collimated, finite-aperture source, we develop expressions relating photon flux density within the skin and intensities re-emitted from the skin surface to the optical properties of the individual layers. Model simulations show that the rate at which re-emitted intensities diminish with radial distance away from the source can provide information about absorption and scattering in underlying tissues. Re-emitted intensities measured from homogeneous and two-layer tissue phantoms compare favorably with model predictions. We demonstrate potential applications of the model by estimating the absorption (Σa) and transport-corrected scattering (Σs) coefficients of dermis and subcutis from intensities measured from intact skin and by predicting the magnitude of the optical-density variations measured by a photoplethysmograph.

© 1990 Optical Society of America

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