A simple, affordable method for imaging through biological tissue is investigated. The method consists of (1) imaging with a wavelength that has a relatively small scattering coefficient (1310 nm in this case) and (2) collimated illumination together with (3) focal plane detection to enhance the detection of the ballistic photons relative to the diffusive light. We demonstrate ballistic detection of an object immersed in a 1-cm-thick cuvette filled with 4% Intralipid, which is equivalent to ∼1 to 2 cm of skin tissue. With the same technology, a ballistic image of a 1-mm-wide object in 10-mm-thick chicken breast is also presented.
The dependence of the transition between the ballistic and the diffusive regimes of turbid media on the experimental solid angle of the detection system is analyzed theoretically and experimentally. A simple model is developed which shows the significance of experimental conditions on the location of the ballistic–diffusive transition. It is demonstrated that decreasing the solid angle expands the ballistic regime; however, this benefit is bounded by the initial Gaussian beam diffraction. In addition, choosing the appropriate wavelength according to the model’s principles provides another means of expanding the ballistic regime. Consequently, by optimizing the experimental conditions, it should be possible to extract the ballistic image of a tissue with a thickness of 1 cm.