Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering

Document Type





Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Guoqiang Yu


This investigation evaluates the influences of optical property assumptions on nearinfrared diffuse correlation spectroscopy (DCS) flow index measurements. Independent variation is induced in optical properties, absorption coefficient (μa) and reduced scattering coefficient (μs’), of liquid phantoms with concurrent measurements of flow indices. A hybrid instrument is incorporated consisting of a dual-wavelength (785 and 830 nm) DCS flow device to obtain flow indices and a frequency-domain tissue-oximeter for optical properties. Flow indices are calculated with measured μa and μs’ or assumed constant μa and μs’. Inaccurate μs’ assumptions produced much larger flow index errors than inaccurate μa. Underestimated/overestimated μs’ from -35%/+175% lead to flow index errors of +110%/-80% and underestimated/overestimated μa from -40%/+150% lead to -20%/+40%, regardless of wavelength. Analysis of a clinical study involving human head and neck tumors indicates flow index errors due to inter-patient optical property variations up to +280%. Collectively, these findings suggest that studies involving significant μa and μs’ changes should measure flow index and optical properties simultaneously to accurately extract blood flow information. This study provides unique insight through the use of liquid phantoms, hybrid instrumentation, incorporation of measurement errors and a generalization into DCS flow index errors due to the influences of optical properties.