Frequency-domain near-infrared (NIR) diffuse spectral tomography with a mode-locked Ti:sapphire laser is presented, providing tunable multiwavelength quantitative spectroscopy with maximal power for thick tissue imaging. The system was developed to show that intrinsically high stability can be achieved with many wavelengths in the NIR range, using a mode-locked signal of with heterodyned lock-in detection. The effect of cumulative noise from multiple wavelengths of data on the reconstruction process was studied, and it was shown that inclusion of more wavelengths can reduce skew in the noise distribution. This normalization of the data variance then minimizes errors in estimation of chromophore concentrations. Simulations and tissue phantom experiments were used to quantify this improvement in image accuracy for recovery of tissue hemoglobin and oxygen saturation.
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