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Spectra from 2.5-15 microm of tissue phantom materials, optical clearing agents and ex vivo human skin: implications for depth profiling of human skin.

  • Author(s): Viator, John A
  • Choi, Bernard
  • Peavy, George M
  • Kimel, Sol
  • Nelson, J Stuart
  • et al.

Infrared measurements have been used to profile or image biological tissue, including human skin. Usually, analysis of such measurements has assumed that infrared absorption is due to water and collagen. Such an assumption may be reasonable for soft tissue, but introduction of exogenous agents into skin or the measurement of tissue phantoms has raised the question of their infrared absorption spectrum. We used Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy in attenuated total reflection mode to measure the infrared absorption spectra, in the range of 2-15 microm, of water, polyacrylamide, Intralipid, collagen gels, four hyperosmotic clearing agents (glycerol, 1,3-butylene glycol, trimethylolpropane, Topicare), and ex vivo human stratum corneum and dermis. The absorption spectra of the phantom materials were similar to that of water, although additional structure was noted in the range of 6-10 microm. The absorption spectra of the clearing agents were more complex, with molecular absorption bands dominating between 6 and 12 microm. Dermis was similar to water, with collagen structure evident in the 6-10 microm range. Stratum corneum had a significantly lower absorption than dermis due to a lower content of water. These results suggest that the assumption of water-dominated absorption in the 2.5-6 microm range is valid. At longer wavelengths, clearing agent absorption spectra differ significantly from the water spectrum. This spectral information can be used in pulsed photothermal radiometry or utilized in the interpretation of reconstructions in which a constant mu(ir) is used. In such cases, overestimating mu(ir) will underestimate chromophore depth and vice versa, although the effect is dependent on actual chromophore depth.

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