Abstract

Multispectral and lifetime imaging in turbid media can be mathematically described in two steps, involving spectral or temporal mixing of the fluorophores and the diffuse light transport in the turbid medium. We show that the order of fluorophore mixing and diffuse propagation is reversed in spectral and lifetime multiplexing, resulting in a fundamental difference in their multiplexing capabilities, regardless of the measurement conditions. Using the resolution matrix to define a quantitative measure for inter-fluorophore cross-talk, we show that lifetime multiplexing, using the asymptotic time domain approach, provides zero cross-talk, while spectral multiplexing can achieve zero cross-talk under special conditions. We also compare the performance of spectral and lifetime multiplexing for tomographic inversion of two overlapping fluorophores in a heterogeneous digital mouse atlas.

© 2016 Optical Society of America

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