We present a two-step Monte Carlo (MC) method that is used to solve the radiative transfer equation in heterogeneous turbid media. The method exploits the one-to-one correspondence between the seed value of a random number generator and the sequence of random numbers. In the first step, a full MC simulation is run for the initial distribution of the optical properties and the “good” seeds (the ones leading to detected photons) are stored in an array. In the second step, we run a new MC simulation with only the good seeds stored in the first step, i.e., we propagate only detected photons. The effect of a change in the optical properties is calculated in a short time by using two scaling relationships. By this method we can increase the speed of a simulation up to a factor of 1300 in typical situations found in near-IR tissue spectroscopy and diffuse optical tomography, with a minimal requirement for hard disk space. Potential applications of this method for imaging of turbid media and the inverse problem are discussed.
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