The diffusion approximation of the radiative transfer equation is a model used widely to describe photon migration in highly diffusing media and is an important matter in biological tissue optics. An analysis of the time-dependent diffusion equation together with its solutions for the slab geometry and for a semi-infinite diffusing medium are reported. These solutions, presented for both the time-dependent and the continuous wave source, account for the refractive index mismatch between the turbid medium and the surrounding medium. The results have been compared with those obtained when different boundary conditions were assumed. The comparison has shown that the effect of the refractive index mismatch cannot be disregarded. This effect is particularly important for the transmittance. The discussion of results also provides an analysis of the role of the absorption coefficient in the expression of the diffusion coefficient.
© 1997 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: April 15, 1996
Revised Manuscript: February 14, 1997
Published: July 1, 1997
Daniele Contini, Fabrizio Martelli, and Giovanni Zaccanti, "Photon migration through a turbid slab described by a model based on diffusion approximation. I. Theory," Appl. Opt. 36, 4587-4599 (1997)