Fabrication and Characterization of Optical Tissue Phantoms Containing Macrostructure. Academic Article uri icon


  • The rapid development of new optical imaging techniques is dependent on the availability of low-cost, customizable, and easily reproducible standards. By replicating the imaging environment, costly animal experiments to validate a technique may be circumvented. Predicting and optimizing the performance of in vivo and ex vivo imaging techniques requires testing on samples that are optically similar to tissues of interest. Tissue-mimicking optical phantoms provide a standard for evaluation, characterization, or calibration of an optical system. Homogenous polymer optical tissue phantoms are widely used to mimic the optical properties of a specific tissue type within a narrow spectral range. Layered tissues, such as the epidermis and dermis, can be mimicked by simply stacking these homogenous slab phantoms. However, many in vivo imaging techniques are applied to more spatially complex tissue where three dimensional structures, such as blood vessels, airways, or tissue defects, can affect the performance of the imaging system. This protocol describes the fabrication of a tissue-mimicking phantom that incorporates three-dimensional structural complexity using material with optical properties of tissue. Look-up tables provide India ink and titanium dioxide recipes for optical absorption and scattering targets. Methods to characterize and tune the material optical properties are described. The phantom fabrication detailed in this article has an internal branching mock airway void; however, the technique can be broadly applied to other tissue or organ structures.

published proceedings

  • J Vis Exp

altmetric score

  • 1.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Durkee, M. S., Nash, L. D., Nooshabadi, F., Cirillo, J. D., Maitland, D. J., & Maitland, K. C.

citation count

  • 7

complete list of authors

  • Durkee, Madeleine S||Nash, Landon D||Nooshabadi, Fatemeh||Cirillo, Jeffrey D||Maitland, Duncan J||Maitland, Kristen C

publication date

  • February 2018