The nEUROPt protocol is one of two new protocols developed within the European project nEUROPt to characterize the performances of time-domain systems for optical imaging of the brain. It was applied in joint measurement campaigns to compare the various instruments and to assess the impact of technical improvements. This protocol addresses the characteristic of optical brain imaging to detect, localize, and quantify absorption changes in the brain. It was implemented with two types of inhomogeneous liquid phantoms based on Intralipid and India ink with well-defined optical properties. First, small black inclusions were used to mimic localized changes of the absorption coefficient. The position of the inclusions was varied in depth and lateral direction to investigate contrast and spatial resolution. Second, two-layered liquid phantoms with variable absorption coefficients were employed to study the quantification of layer-wide changes and, in particular, to determine depth selectivity, i.e., the ratio of sensitivities for deep and superficial absorption changes. We introduce the tests of the nEUROPt protocol and present examples of results obtained with different instruments and methods of data analysis. This protocol could be a useful step toward performance tests for future standards in diffuse optical imaging.
Novel protocols were developed and applied in the European project “nEUROPt” to assess and compare the performance
of instruments for time-domain optical brain imaging and of related methods of data analysis. The objective of the first
protocol, “Basic Instrumental Performance”, was to record relevant basic instrumental characteristics in a direct way.
The present paper focuses on the second novel protocol (“nEUROPt” protocol) that was devoted to the assessment of
sensitivity, spatial resolution and quantification of absorption changes within inhomogeneous media. It was implemented
with liquid phantoms based on Intralipid and ink, with black inclusions and, alternatively, in two-layered geometry.
Small black cylinders of various sizes were used to mimic small localized changes of the absorption coefficient. Their
position was varied in depth and lateral direction to address contrast and spatial resolution. Two-layered liquid phantoms
were used, in particular, to determine depth selectivity, i.e. the ratio of contrasts due to a deep and a superficial
absorption change of the same magnitude. We introduce the tests of the “nEUROPt” protocol and present exemplary
results obtained with various instruments. The results are related to measurements with both types of phantoms and to
the analysis of measured time-resolved reflectance based on time windows and moments. Results are compared for the
different instruments or instrumental configurations as well as for the methods of data analysis. The nEUROPt protocol
is also applicable to cw or frequency-domain instruments and could be useful for designing performance tests in future
standards in diffuse optical imaging.
Optical technique based on diffuse reflectance measurement combined with indocyanine green (ICG) bolus tracking is extensively tested as a method for clinical assessment of brain perfusion in adults at the bedside. Methodology of multiwavelength and time-resolved detection of fluorescence light excited in the ICG is presented and advantages of measurements at multiple wavelengths are discussed. Measurements were carried out: 1. on a physical homogeneous phantom to study the concentration dependence of the fluorescence signal, 2. on the phantom to simulate the dynamic inflow of ICG at different depths, and 3. in vivo on surface of the human head. Pattern of inflow and washout of ICG in the head of healthy volunteers after intravenous injection of the dye was observed for the first time with time-resolved instrumentation at multiple emission wavelengths. The multiwavelength detection of fluorescence signal confirms that at longer emission wavelengths, probability of reabsorption of the fluorescence light by the dye itself is reduced. Considering different light penetration depths at different wavelengths, and the pronounced reabsorption at longer wavelengths, the time-resolved multiwavelength technique may be useful in signal decomposition, leading to evaluation of extra- and intracerebral components of the measured signals.
We study fluorescence lifetime of indocyanine green (ICG) using femtosecond laser and sensitive detection based on time-correlated single-photon counting. A time-resolved multichannel spectral system is constructed and applied for determination of the fluorescence lifetime of the ICG in different solvents. Emission properties of ICG in water, milk, and 1% intralipid solution are investigated. Fluorescence of the fluorophore of different concentrations (in a range of 1.7-160 μM) dissolved in different solutions is excited by femtosecond pulses generated with the use of Ti:Sa laser tuned within the range of 740-790 nm. It is observed that fluorescence lifetime of ICG in water is 0.166 ± 0.02 ns and does not depend on excitation and emission wavelengths. We also show that for the diffusely scattering solvents (milk and intralipid), the lifetime may depend on the dye concentration (especially for large concentrations of ICG). This effect should be taken into account when analyzing changes in the mean time of arrival of fluorescence photons excited in ICG dissolved in such optically turbid media.
We present a multi-laboratory comparison of several independent forward solvers used for photon migration
through layered media. Two main categories of forward solvers are presented: Monte Carlo procedures and
solutions of the diffusion equation for the time domain. For Monte Carlo we have included four independent
codes. For the solutions of the diffusion equation, we have presented: two semi-analytical approaches based
on the Green's function method and one solution obtained with the finite element method. The comparisons
between the different time-dependent solutions were performed for a two-layer medium.
An imaging system for brain oxygenation based on a time-gated, intensified charge-coupled device camera was developed. It allows one to image diffusely reflected light from an investigated medium at defined time windows delayed with respect to the laser pulse. Applying a fast optomechanical switch to deliver the light at a wavelength of 780 nm to nine source fibers allowed one to acquire images in times as short as 4 s. Thus, the system can be applied in in vivo studies. The system was validated in phantom experiments, in which absorbing inclusions were localized at different depths and different lateral positions. Then, the decrease in absorption of the brain tissue related to increase in oxygenation was visualized in the motor cortex area during finger tapping by a healthy volunteer.
A time-resolved optical instrument allowing for noninvasive assessment of cerebral oxygenation is presented. The instrument is equipped with picosecond diode lasers, fast photodetectors, and time-correlated single photon counting electronics. This technology enables depth-resolved estimation of changes in absorption and, in consequence, assessment of changes in hemoglobin concentrations in the brain cortex. Changes in oxyhemoglobin (HbO2) and deoxyhemoglobin (Hb) can be evaluated selectively in extra- and intracerebral tissue compartments using the moments of distributions of times of flight of photons measured at two wavelengths in the near-infrared region. The combination of the data acquired from multiple sources and detectors located on the surface of the head with the depth-resolved analysis, based on the moments, enables imaging of cortex oxygenation. Results of the tests on physical phantoms as well as in vivo validation of the instrument during the motor stimulation experiment are presented.