Specifying the distribution of laser energy within a tissue is the first step toward understanding and capitalizing on a variety of laser-tissue interactions. Whether photothermal, photochemical, or photomechanical in nature, laser-tissue interactions begin with the absorption of photon energy. The spatial distribution of photon absorption specifies the required laser exposure to be delivered and the extent of subsequent therapeutic action. Using infrared tomography (IRT), the broad, long term objective of this research is the development of a three-dimensional tomographic reconstruction algorithm (TRA) as a means to determine the: (1) initial space-dependent temperature increase in subsurface chromophores [(Delta) TCHR((xi) ,(eta) ,(zetz) ,t equals 0)] immediately following pulsed laser exposure; and (2) depths and physical dimensions of discrete subsurface chromophores. Analysis of the recorded time sequence of infrared emission images [(Delta) MCHR(x,y,t)] by longitudinal inversion and lateral deconvolution algorithms provides a direct means to determine the depths and physical dimensions of subsurface chromophores. Although our research is being shared with workers in a variety of disciplines, and pertinent to many clinical applications involving laser-induced photothermal mechanisms, we are particularly interested in addressing the problems associated with determination of the initial space-dependent temperature increase in subsurface chromophores in human skin in general, and port wine stain (PWS) blood vessels in particular.