Fluorescence tomography characterization for sub-surface imaging with protoporphyrin IX

Opt Express. 2008 Jun 9;16(12):8581-93. doi: 10.1364/oe.16.008581.


Optical imaging of fluorescent objects embedded in a tissue simulating medium was characterized using non-contact based approaches to fluorescence remittance imaging (FRI) and sub-surface fluorescence diffuse optical tomography (FDOT). Using Protoporphyrin IX as a fluorescent agent, experiments were performed on tissue phantoms comprised of typical in-vivo tumor to normal tissue contrast ratios, ranging from 3.5:1 up to 10:1. It was found that tomographic imaging was able to recover interior inclusions with high contrast relative to the background; however, simple planar fluorescence imaging provided a superior contrast to noise ratio. Overall, FRI performed optimally when the object was located on or close to the surface and, perhaps most importantly, FDOT was able to recover specific depth information about the location of embedded regions. The results indicate that an optimal system for localizing embedded fluorescent regions should combine fluorescence reflectance imaging for high sensitivity and sub-surface tomography for depth detection, thereby allowing more accurate localization in all three directions within the tissue.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Contrast Media
  • Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence / instrumentation
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence / methods*
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Protoporphyrins*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tomography, Optical / instrumentation
  • Tomography, Optical / methods*


  • Contrast Media
  • Protoporphyrins
  • protoporphyrin IX