Diffuse optical imaging is a non-invasive technique for low-resolution studies of biological tissues at a macroscopic scale. The limited spatial resolution (~1 cm) is balanced by a large optical penetration depth (several centimeters), high temporal resolution (~ 10 milliseconds), high intrinsic contrast associated with hemoglobin (contrast factor of 10-100 in most soft tissues), and the capability of spectral discrimination of multiple chromophores (leading to quantitative oximetry in the case of oxygenated and deoxygenated hemoglobin).
Research activities in our group include quantitative modeling of light propagation in optically turbid media, the generation of analytical relationships between optical measurements and physiological quantities, the design of optical instruments for medical imaging, the development of novel near-infrared spectroscopy and imaging techniques for medical diagnostics, and a number of applications to animal models and human subjects. Specific applications are aimed at functional imaging of the brain, the assessment of cerebral microcirculation, diffuse optical mammography, hemodynamic monitoring of skeletal muscles, and quantitative tissue oximetry.
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