Evaluation of higher-order time-domain perturbation theory of photon diffusion on breast-equivalent phantoms and optical mammograms


  • D. Grosenick
  • A. Kummrow
  • R. Macdonald
  • P.M. Schlag
  • H. Rinneberg


  • Physical Review E


  • Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys 76 (6 Pt 1): 061908


  • Time-domain perturbation theory of photon diffusion up to third order was evaluated for its accuracy in deducing optical properties of breast tumors using simulated and physical phantoms and by analyzing 141 projection mammograms of 87 patients with histology-validated tumors that had been recorded by scanning time-domain optical mammography. The slightly compressed breast was modeled as (partially) homogeneous diffusely scattering infinite slab containing a scattering and absorbing spherical heterogeneity representing the tumor. Photon flux densities were calculated from densities of transmitted photons, assuming extended boundary conditions. Explicit formulas are provided for second-order changes in transmitted photon density due to the presence of absorbers or scatterers. The results on phantoms obtained by perturbation theory carried up to third order were compared with measured temporal point spread functions, with numerical finite-element method (FEM) simulations of transmitted photon flux density, with results obtained from the diffraction of diffuse photon density waves, and from Pade approximants. The breakdown of first-, second-, and third-order perturbation theory is discussed for absorbers and a general expression was derived for the convergence of the Born series in this case. Taking tumor optical properties derived by the diffraction model as reference we conclude that estimates of tumor absorption coefficients by perturbation theory agree with reference values within +/-25% in only 65% (first order), 66% (second order), and 77% (third order) of all mammograms analyzed. In the remaining cases tumor absorption is generally underestimated due to the breakdown of perturbation theory. On average the empirical Pade approximants yield tumor absorption coefficients similar to third-order perturbation theory, yet at noticeable lower computational efforts.