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Journal of Biomedical Optics

Monte Carlo simulation of the spatial resolution and depth sensitivity of two-dimensional optical imaging of the brain
Author(s): Peifang Tian; Anna Devor; Sava Sakadzic; Anders M. Dale; David A. Boas
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Paper Abstract

Absorption or fluorescence-based two-dimensional (2-D) optical imaging is widely employed in functional brain imaging. The image is a weighted sum of the real signal from the tissue at different depths. This weighting function is defined as "depth sensitivity." Characterizing depth sensitivity and spatial resolution is important to better interpret the functional imaging data. However, due to light scattering and absorption in biological tissues, our knowledge of these is incomplete. We use Monte Carlo simulations to carry out a systematic study of spatial resolution and depth sensitivity for 2-D optical imaging methods with configurations typically encountered in functional brain imaging. We found the following: (i) the spatial resolution is <200 μm for NA ≤0.2 or focal plane depth ≤300 μm. (ii) More than 97% of the signal comes from the top 500 μm of the tissue. (iii) For activated columns with lateral size larger than spatial resolution, changing numerical aperature (NA) and focal plane depth does not affect depth sensitivity. (iv) For either smaller columns or large columns covered by surface vessels, increasing NA and/or focal plane depth may improve depth sensitivity at deeper layers. Our results provide valuable guidance for the optimization of optical imaging systems and data interpretation.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 January 2011
PDF: 13 pages
J. Biomed. Opt. 16(1) 016006 doi: 10.1117/1.3533263
Published in: Journal of Biomedical Optics Volume 16, Issue 1
Show Author Affiliations
Peifang Tian, Univ. of California, San Diego (United States)
Anna Devor, Univ. of California, San Diego (United States)
Sava Sakadzic, Massachusetts General Hospital (United States)
Anders M. Dale, Univ. of California, San Diego (United States)
David A. Boas, Massachusetts General Hospital (United States)


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