OSA's Digital Library

Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Vol. 28, Iss. 12 — Jun. 15, 1989
  • pp: 2250–2255

Accuracies of the diffusion approximation and its similarity relations for laser irradiated biological media

Gilwon Yoon, Scott A. Prahl, and Ashley J. Welch  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 28, Issue 12, pp. 2250-2255 (1989)

View Full Text Article

Enhanced HTML    Acrobat PDF (792 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



The accuracy of the diffusion approximation is compared with more accurate solutions for describing light interaction with biological tissues. Generally the diffusion approximation underestimates the light distribution in the surface region, and, for high albedos, it significantly underestimates the fluence rate. This difference is only a few percent for albedos of less than 0.5 due to the dominance of collimated light. As the anisotropy of scattering increases, deviations increase. In general, fluxes can be computed more accurately with the diffusion approximation than fluence rates. For anisotropic scattering, better results can be obtained by simple transforms of optical coefficients using the similarity relations. The similarity relations improve flux calculations, but computed fluence rates have substantial errors for high albedo and the large index of refraction differences at the surface.

© 1989 Optical Society of America

Original Manuscript: November 28, 1988
Published: June 15, 1989

Gilwon Yoon, Scott A. Prahl, and Ashley J. Welch, "Accuracies of the diffusion approximation and its similarity relations for laser irradiated biological media," Appl. Opt. 28, 2250-2255 (1989)

Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset  


  1. R. A. J. Groenhuis, H. A. Ferwerda, J. J. T. Bosch, “Scattering and Absorption of Turbid Materials Determined from Reflection Measurements,” Appl. Opt. 22, 2456–2467 (1983). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  2. S. L. Jacques, S. A. Prahl, “Modeling Optical and Thermal Distribution in Tissue During Laser Irradiation,” Lasers Surg. Med. 6, 494–503 (1987). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  3. J. M. Steinke, A. P. Shepherd, “Diffusion Model of the Optical Absorbance of Whole Blood,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 5, 813–822 (1988). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  4. W. M. Star, J. P. A. Marijnissen, “Calculating the Response of Isotropic Light Dosimetry Probes as a Function of the Tissue Refractive Index,” Appl. Opt. 28, 2288–2291 (1989). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  5. W. G. Houf, F. P. Incropera, “An Assessment of Techniques for Predicting Radiation Transfer in Aqueous Media,” J. Quant. Spectrosc. Radiat. Transfer 23, 101–115 (1980). [CrossRef]
  6. H. C. van de Hulst, Multiple Light Scattering: Tables, Formulas, and Applications,” (Academic, New York, 1980), Vols. 1, 2.
  7. A. Ishimaru, Wave Propagation and Scattering in Random Media (Academic, New York, 1978), Vol. 1.
  8. F. P. Bolin, L. E. Preuss, R. C. Taylor, R. J. Ference, “Measurement of the Index of Refraction of Mammalian Tissue,” OSA Annual Meeting, 1988 Technical Digest Series, Vol. 11 (Optical Society of America, Washington, DC, 1988), paper TH04.
  9. M. Keijzer, W. M. Star, P. R. M. Storchi, “Optical Diffusion in Layered Media,” Appl. Opt. 27, 1820–1824 (1988). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  10. J. H. Joseph, W. J. Wiscombe, J. A. Weinman, “The Delta-Eddington Approximation for Radiative Flux Transfer,” J. Atm. Sci. 33, 2452–2459 (1976). [CrossRef]
  11. A. J. Welch, J. A. Pearce, K. R. Diller, G. Yoon, W. F. Cheong, “Heat Generation in Laser Irradiated Tissue,” ASME J. Biomech. Eng. 111, 62–68 (1989). [CrossRef]
  12. W. E. Meador, W. R. Weaver, “Diffusion Approximation for Large Absorption in Radiative Transfer,” Appl. Opt. 18, 1204–1208 (1979). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited