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22 February 2010 Measurement of the optical properties of skin using terahertz time-domain spectroscopic techniques
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Terahertz (THz) radiation is increasingly being used in biomedical imaging and spectroscopy applications. These techniques show tremendous promise to provide new sophisticated tools for the improved detection of skin cancer. However, despite recent efforts to develop these applications, few studies have been conducted to characterize the optical properties of skin at THz frequencies. Such information is required to better understand THz-tissue interactions, and is critical for determining the feasibility of proposed applications. In this study, we have developed and tested a THz time-domain spectroscopy system. We used this system to acquire the optical properties for fresh and frozen/thawed excised porcine skin from 0.1 to 2.0 THz. Results show that the index of refraction (n) for both frozen and fresh skin decreases with frequency. For frozen skin, n equals 2.5 at 0.1 THz and 2.0 at 2.0 THz, and for fresh skin equals 2.0 at 0.1 THz and 1.7 at 2.0 THz. Values for the absorption coefficient (μa) increase with frequency for both frozen and fresh skin. Frozen skin exhibits μa values equal to 56 cm-1 at 0.1 THz and 550 cm-1 at 2.0 THz, whereas fresh skin exhibits values of 56 cm-1 at 0.1 THz and 300 cm-1 at 2.0 THz. Assuming the optical penetration depth (δ) is inversely proportional to μa (absorption-dominated interactions), THz radiation has limited δ in skin (200 μm at 0.1 THz to 40 μm at 2.0 THz). These results suggest that applications exploiting THz radiation show the most promise for investigating superficial tissues.
© (2010) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Gerald J. Wilmink, Bennett L. Ibey, Thomas Tongue, Brian Schulkin, Xomalin Peralta, Benjamin D. Rivest, Eric C. Haywood, and William P. Roach "Measurement of the optical properties of skin using terahertz time-domain spectroscopic techniques", Proc. SPIE 7562, Optical Interactions with Tissues and Cells XXI, 75620J (22 February 2010);

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