Time-Resolved Diffuse Optical Spectroscopy and Imaging Using Solid-State Detectors: Characteristics, Present Status, and Research Challenges
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Diffuse optical spectroscopy (DOS) and diffuse optical imaging (DOI) are emerging non-invasive imaging modalities that have wide spread potential applications in many fields, particularly for structural and functional imaging in medicine. In this article, we review time-resolved diffuse optical imaging (TR-DOI) systems using solid-state detectors with a special focus on Single-Photon Avalanche Diodes (SPADs) and Silicon Photomultipliers (SiPMs). These TR-DOI systems can be categorized into two types based on the operation mode of the detector (free-running or time-gated). For the TR-DOI prototypes, the physical concepts, main components, figures-of-merit of detectors, and evaluation parameters are described. The performance of TR-DOI prototypes is evaluated according to the parameters used in common protocols to test DOI systems particularly basic instrumental performance (BIP). In addition, the potential features of SPADs and SiPMs to improve TR-DOI systems and expand their applications in the foreseeable future are discussed. Lastly, research challenges and future developments for TR-DOI are discussed for each component in the prototype separately and also for the entire system.
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