We have examined the possibility of determining the optical properties of a two-layer medium by using a diffusion approximation radiation transport model [Appl. Opt. <b>37,</b> 779 (1998)]. Continuous-wave and frequency-domain (FD) low-noise Monte Carlo (MC) data were fitted to the model. Marquardt–Levenberg and a simulated annealing algorithm were used and compared as optimization techniques. Our particular choice of optical properties for the two-layer model was consistent with skin and underlying fat in the presence of an exogenous chromophore [Appl. Opt. <b>37,</b> 1958 (1998)]. The results are therefore specific to this set of optical properties. It was found that the cw diffusion solution could never be used to estimate all optical properties reliably. The combined cw and FD solutions could not be used to estimate some of the top-layer optical properties to an accuracy of better than 10%, although the absorption and the transport scattering coefficients of the bottom layer could be estimated to within 7% and 0.5%, respectively. No improvement was found from simultaneously fitting MC data at three different modulation frequencies. These results point to the need for a more accurate radiation transfer model at small source–detector separations.
© 1998 Optical Society of America
(170.3660) Medical optics and biotechnology : Light propagation in tissues
(170.4090) Medical optics and biotechnology : Modulation techniques
(290.1990) Scattering : Diffusion
(290.7050) Scattering : Turbid media
George Alexandrakis, Thomas J. Farrell, and Michael S. Patterson, "Accuracy of the Diffusion Approximation in Determining the Optical Properties of a Two-Layer Turbid Medium," Appl. Opt. 37, 7401-7409 (1998)