An optical probe used to localize human brain tissues in vivo has been reported previously. It was able to sense the underlying tissue structure with an optical interrogation field, termed as “look ahead distance” (LAD). A new side-firing probe has been designed with its optical window along its side. We have defined the optical interrogation field of the new side probe as “look aside distance” (LASD). The purpose of this study is to understand the dependence of the LAD and LASD on the optical properties of tissue, the light source intensity, and the integration time of the detector, using experimental and computational methods. The results show that a decrease in light intensity does decrease the LAD and LASD and that an increase in integration time of detection may not necessarily improve the depths of LAD and LASD. Furthermore, Monte Carlo simulation results suggest that the LAD∕LASD decreases with an increase in reduced scattering coefficient to a point, after which the LAD∕LASD remains constant. We expect that an optical interrogation field of a tip or side probe is approximately 1–2 mm in white matter and 2–3.5 mm in gray matter. These conclusions will help us optimally manipulate the parameter settings during surgery and determine the spatial resolution of the probe.
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