Fluorescence Photon Migration by the Boundary Element Method
The use of the boundary element method (BEM) is explored as an alternative to the finite element method (FEM) solution methodology for the elliptic equations used to model the generation and transport of fluorescent light in highly scattering media, without the need for an internal volume mesh. The method is appropriate for domains where it is reasonable to assume the fluorescent properties are regionally homogeneous, such as when using highly-specific molecularly targeted fluorescent contrast agents in biological tissues. In comparison to analytical results on a homogeneous sphere, BEM predictions of complex emission fluence are shown to be more accurate and stable than those of the FEM. Emission fluence predictions made with the BEM using a 708-node mesh, with roughly double the inter-node spacing of boundary nodes as in a 6956-node FEM mesh, match experimental frequency-domain fluorescence emission measurements acquired on a 1087 cm³ breast-mimicking phantom as well as those of the FEM, but require only 1/8 to 1/2 the computation time.