Monte Carlo method for photon heating using temperature-dependent optical properties. Academic Article uri icon


  • The Monte Carlo method for photon transport is often used to predict the volumetric heating that an optical source will induce inside a tissue or material. This method relies on constant (with respect to temperature) optical properties, specifically the coefficients of scattering and absorption. In reality, optical coefficients are typically temperature-dependent, leading to error in simulation results. The purpose of this study is to develop a method that can incorporate variable properties and accurately simulate systems where the temperature will greatly vary, such as in the case of laser-thawing of frozen tissues. A numerical simulation was developed that utilizes the Monte Carlo method for photon transport to simulate the thermal response of a system that allows temperature-dependent optical and thermal properties. This was done by combining traditional Monte Carlo photon transport with a heat transfer simulation to provide a feedback loop that selects local properties based on current temperatures, for each moment in time. Additionally, photon steps are segmented to accurately obtain path lengths within a homogenous (but not isothermal) material. Validation of the simulation was done using comparisons to established Monte Carlo simulations using constant properties, and a comparison to the Beer-Lambert law for temperature-variable properties. The simulation is able to accurately predict the thermal response of a system whose properties can vary with temperature. The difference in results between variable-property and constant property methods for the representative system of laser-heated silicon can become larger than 100K. This simulation will return more accurate results of optical irradiation absorption in a material which undergoes a large change in temperature. This increased accuracy in simulated results leads to better thermal predictions in living tissues and can provide enhanced planning and improved experimental and procedural outcomes.

published proceedings

  • Comput Methods Programs Biomed

author list (cited authors)

  • Slade, A. B., & Aguilar, G.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Slade, Adam Broadbent||Aguilar, Guillermo

publication date

  • January 2015