We have developed an efficient fully three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction algorithm for diffuse optical tomography (DOT). The 3D DOT, a severely ill-posed problem, is tackled through a pseudodynamic (PD) approach wherein an ordinary differential equation representing the evolution of the solution on pseudotime is integrated that bypasses an explicit inversion of the associated, ill-conditioned system matrix. One of the most computationally expensive parts of the iterative DOT algorithm, the reevaluation of the Jacobian in each of the iterations, is avoided by using the adjoint-Broyden update formula to provide low rank updates to the Jacobian. In addition, wherever feasible, we have also made the algorithm efficient by integrating along the quadratic path provided by the perturbation equation containing the Hessian. These algorithms are then proven by reconstruction, using simulated and experimental data and verifying the PD results with those from the popular Gauss–Newton scheme. The major findings of this work are as follows: (i) the PD reconstructions are comparatively artifact free, providing superior absorption coefficient maps in terms of quantitative accuracy and contrast recovery; (ii) the scaling of computation time with the dimension of the measurement set is much less steep with the Jacobian update formula in place than without it; and (iii) an increase in the data dimension, even though it renders the reconstruction problem less ill conditioned and thus provides relatively artifact-free reconstructions, does not necessarily provide better contrast property recovery. For the latter, one should also take care to uniformly distribute the measurement points, avoiding regions close to the source so that the relative strength of the derivatives for measurements away from the source does not become insignificant.
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