Short wavelength infrared optical windows for evaluation of benign and malignant tissues

J Biomed Opt. 2017 Apr 1;22(4):45002. doi: 10.1117/1.JBO.22.4.045002.


There are three short wavelength infrared (SWIR) optical windows outside the conventionally used first near-infrared (NIR) window (650 to 950 nm). They occur in the 1000- to 2500-nm range and may be considered second, third, and fourth NIR windows. The second (1100 to 1350 nm) and third windows (1600 to 1870 nm) are now being explored through label-free linear and multiphoton imaging. The fourth window (2100 to 2350 nm) has been mostly ignored because of water absorption and the absence of sensitive detectors and ultrafast lasers. With the advent of new technology, use of window IV is now possible. Absorption and scattering properties of light through breast and prostate cancer, bone, lipids, and intralipid solutions at these windows were investigated. We found that breast and prostate cancer and bone have longer total attenuation lengths at NIR windows III and IV, whereas fatty tissues and intralipid have longest lengths at windows II and III. Since collagen is the major chromophore at 2100 and 2350 nm, window IV could be especially valuable in evaluating cancers and boney tissues, whereas windows II and III may be more useful for tissues with high lipid content. SWIR windows may be utilized as additional optical tools for the evaluation of collagen in tissues.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone and Bones / diagnostic imaging
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Chickens
  • Collagen / chemistry
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infrared Rays
  • Lasers
  • Lipids / chemistry
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Optical Imaging / methods*
  • Optics and Photonics
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Scattering, Radiation
  • Spectroscopy, Near-Infrared / methods*


  • Lipids
  • Collagen