Imaging of Fluorescence in Highly Scattering Media

J. Chang et al. (1997)

Summary

Two one–speed radiation transport equations coupled by a dynamic equation for the distribution of fluorophore electronic states are used to model the migration of excitation photons and emitted fluorescent photons. The conditions for producing appreciable levels of fluorophore in the excited state are studied, with the conclusion that minimal saturation occurs under the conditions applicable to tissue imaging. This simplifies the derivation of the frequency response and of the imaging operator for a time–harmonic excitation source. Several factors known to influence the fluorescence response — the concentration, mean lifetime and quantum yield of the fluorophore, and the modulation frequency of the excitatory source — are examined. Optimal sensitivity conditions are obtained by analyzing the fluorescence source strength as a function of the mean lifetime and modulation frequency. The dependence of demodulation of the fluorescent signal on the above factors is also examined. In complementary studies, transport–theory–based operators for imaging fluorophore distributions in a highly scattering medium are derived. Experimental data were collected by irradiating a cylindrical phantom containing one or two fluorophore–filled balloons with CW laser light. The reconstruction results show that qualitatively and quantitatively good images can be obtained, with embedded objects accurately located and the fluorophore concentration correctly determined.