Generalized fokker-planck models of light propagation in layered media

Kevin G. Phillips, Steven L. Jacques

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


We present a numerical procedure using the PN-method to model light distributions in layered structures such as the epithelium. In contrast to previous studies of layered media using Monte Carlo methods and discrete ordinates, the PN-method provides the flexibility to not only vary tissue optical properties across layers but also allows one to vary the tissue light interaction without changes to the numerical method. This includes the collection of generalized Fokker-Planck equations used in forward scattering approximations. Example calculations are performed for a model of the head consisting of a skull layer, cerebrospinal fluid layer, and cortex layer and a model of a port wine stain consisting of epidermis, dermis, and vascular malformation layers. Results obtained with the PN-method are shown to agree with Monte Carlo simulation but are obtained in a fraction of the time needed for accurate Monte Carlo results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number71751A
JournalProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes
EventOptical Interactions with Tissue and Cells XX - San Jose, CA, United States
Duration: Jan 26 2009Jan 28 2009


  • Fokker-Planck equation
  • Forward-scattering approximation
  • Monte Carlo
  • P-method
  • Radiative transport equation
  • Tissue-light interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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