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Journal of Spectroscopy
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 1947613, 23 pages
Review Article

Prospects on Time-Domain Diffuse Optical Tomography Based on Time-Correlated Single Photon Counting for Small Animal Imaging

1Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Université de Sherbrooke, 2500 Boulevard de l’Université, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada J1K 2R1
2Centre d’Imagerie Moléculaire de Sherbrooke (CIMS), Centre de Recherche du Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Sherbrooke (CR-CHUS), 3001 12e Avenue Nord, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada J1H 5N4
3Institut Interdisciplinaire d’Innovation Technologique (3IT), Parc Innovation, Pavillon P2, 3000 Boulevard de l’Université, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada J1K 0A5
4Dipartimento di Elettronica, Informazione e Bioingegneria, Politecnico di Milano, Piazza Leonardo da Vinci 32, 20133 Milano, Italy

Received 2 October 2015; Revised 5 December 2015; Accepted 20 December 2015

Academic Editor: Rickson C. Mesquita

Copyright © 2016 Yves Bérubé-Lauzière et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper discusses instrumentation based on multiview parallel high temporal resolution (<50 ps) time-domain (TD) measurements for diffuse optical tomography (DOT) and a prospective view on the steps to undertake as regards such instrumentation to make TD-DOT a viable technology for small animal molecular imaging. TD measurements provide information-richest data, and we briefly review the interaction of light with biological tissues to provide an understanding of this. This data richness is yet to be exploited to its full potential to increase the spatial resolution of DOT imaging and to allow probing, via the fluorescence lifetime, tissue biochemical parameters, and processes that are otherwise not accessible in fluorescence DOT. TD data acquisition time is, however, the main factor that currently compromises the viability of TD-DOT. Current high temporal resolution TD-DOT scanners simply do not integrate sufficient detection channels. Based on our past experience in developing TD-DOT instrumentation, we review and discuss promising technologies to overcome this difficulty. These are single photon avalanche diode (SPAD) detectors and fully parallel highly integrated electronics for time-correlated single photon counting (TCSPC). We present experimental results obtained with such technologies demonstrating the feasibility of next-generation multiview TD-DOT therewith.