We are studying the transmission of LED array-emitted near-infrared (NIR) light through human tissues. Herein, we simulated and measured transcranial NIR penetration in highly scattering human head tissues. Using finite element analysis, we simulated photon diffusion in a multilayered 3D human head model that consists of scalp, skull, cerebral spinal fluid, gray matter and white matter. The optical properties of each layer, namely scattering and absorption coefficient, correspond to the 850 nm NIR light. The geometry of the model is minimally modified from the IEEE standard and the multiple LED emitters in an array were evenly distributed on the scalp. Our results show that photon distribution produced by the array exhibits little variation at similar brain depth, suggesting that due to strong scattering effects of the tissues, discrete spatial arrangements of LED emitters in an array has the potential to create a quasi-radially symmetrical illumination field. Measurements on cadaveric human head tissues excised from occipital, parietal, frontal and temporal regions show that illumination with an 850 nm LED emitter rendered a photon flux that closely follows simulation results. In addition, prolonged illumination of LED emitted NIR showed minimal thermal effects on the brain.