Optical properties of intralipid: A phantom medium for light propagation studies

Stephen T. Flock, Steven L. Jacques, Brian C. Wilson, Willem M. Star, Martin J.C. van Gemert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

334 Scopus citations


Intralipid™ is an intravenous nutrient consisting of an emulsion of phospholipid micelles and water. Because Intralipid is turbid and has no strong absorption bands in the visible region of the electromagnetic spectrum, and is readily available and relatively inexpensive, it is often used as a tissue simulating phantom medium in light dosimetry experiments. In order to assist investigators requiring a controllable medium that over a finite range of wavelengths is optically equivalent to tissue, we have compiled previously published values of the optical interaction coefficients of Intralipid, most of which were measured at a wavelength of 633 nm. We have extended the measurements of the absorption and reduced scattering coefficients from 460 to 690 nm and the total attenuation coefficient from 500 to 890 nm. These measurements show that, for stock 10% Intralipid, the absorption coefficient varies from 0.015 to 0.001 cm−1 between 460 and 690 nm, the reduced scattering coefficient varies from 92 to 50 cm−1 between 460 and 690 nm, the total attenuation coefficient varies from 575 to 150 cm−1 between 500 and 890 nm, and the average cosine of scatter varies from 0.87 to 0.82 between 460 and 690 nm. With these data, we discuss the design of an optically tissue‐equivalent phantom consisting of Intralipid and black India ink. © 1992 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)510-519
Number of pages10
JournalLasers in Surgery and Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • intralipid
  • light‐dosimetry
  • optical‐interaction‐coefficients
  • phantom
  • radiative‐transfer
  • similarity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Dermatology


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