Hand-held near-infrared (NIR) optical imagers are developed by various researchers towards non-invasive clinical breast imaging. Unlike these existing imagers that can perform only reflectance imaging, a generation-2 (Gen-2) hand-held optical imager has been recently developed to perform both reflectance and transillumination imaging. The unique forked design of the hand-held probe head(s) allows for reflectance imaging (as in ultrasound) and transillumination or compressed imaging (as in X-ray mammography). Phantom studies were performed to demonstrate two-dimensional (2D) target detection via reflectance and transillumination imaging at various target depths (1-5 cm deep) and using simultaneous multiple point illumination approach. It was observed that 0.45 cc targets were detected up to 5 cm deep during transillumination, but limited to 2.5 cm deep during reflectance imaging. Additionally, implementing appropriate data post-processing techniques along with a polynomial fitting approach, to plot 2D surface contours of the detected signal, yields distinct target detectability and localization. The ability of the gen-2 imager to perform both reflectance and transillumination imaging allows its direct comparison to ultrasound and X-ray mammography results, respectively, in future clinical breast imaging studies.
Keywords: diffuse optical imaging; hand-held imager; hand-held probe; near-infrared; reflectance; transillumination.