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Near infrared spectrophotometry and imaging for non-invasive functional assessment of biological tissue

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Development of software tools for diffusion based FEM modelling of light diffusion in tissue and image reconstruction: Prior to the start of this EU project, the Biomedical Optics Research Group at UCL had already developed a Finite Element model of the diffusion of light in tissue (TOAST). This enabled both the forward calculation of light distribution arising from a specific source distribution, and also solution of the inverse problem (i.e. calculating the tissue distribution "the image" which would give rise to a measured light distribution). As part of this project, the software was considerably enhanced in terms of the range of different boundary conditions and the complexity of the structures that could be modelled. The results from the model were also validated by comparison with experimental data measured on a variety of tissue simulating phantoms using the automated data collection system mentioned above. These phantoms were also made available to other partners in the project and elsewhere in the world. The current version of TOAST is probably the most comprehensive software currently available for the modelling of light diffusion in tissue or other turbid media.