Optical measurements of tissue can be performed in discrete, time-averaged, and time-varying data collection modes. This information can be evaluated to yield estimates of either absolute optical coefficient values or some relative change in these values compared with a defined state. In the case of time-varying data, additional analysis can be applied to define various dynamic features. Here we have explored the accuracy with which such information can be recovered from dense scattering media using linear perturbation theory, as a function of the accuracy of the reference medium that serves as the initial guess. Within the framework of diffusion theory and a first-order solution, we have observed the following inequality regarding the sensitivity of computed measures to inaccuracy in the reference medium: Absolute measures ≫ relative measures > dynamic measures. In fact, the fidelity of derived dynamic measures was striking; we observed that accurate measures of dynamic behavior could be defined even if the quality of the image data from which these measures were derived was comparatively modest. In other studies we identified inaccuracy in the estimates of the reference detector values, and not to corresponding errors in the image operators, as the primary factor responsible for instability of absolute measures. The significance of these findings for practical imaging studies of tissue is discussed.
© 2001 Optical Society of America
(100.2960) Image processing : Image analysis
(100.2980) Image processing : Image enhancement
(170.3880) Medical optics and biotechnology : Medical and biological imaging
(170.4730) Medical optics and biotechnology : Optical pathology
(170.5380) Medical optics and biotechnology : Physiology
Yaling Pei, Harry L. Graber, and Randall L. Barbour, "Influence of Systematic Errors in Reference States on Image Quality and on Stability of Derived Information for dc Optical Imaging," Appl. Opt. 40, 5755-5769 (2001)