Multicanonical Monte-Carlo simulations of light propagation in biological media

A. Bilenca, A. Desjardins, B. E. Bouma, G. J. Tearney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Monte-Carlo simulation is an important tool in the field of biomedical optics, but suffers from significant computational expense. In this paper, we present the multicanonical Monte-Carlo (MMC) method for improving the efficiency of classical Monte Carlo simulations of light propagation in biological media. The MMC is an adaptive importance sampling technique that iteratively equilibrates at the optimal importance distribution with little (if any) a priori knowledge of how to choose and bias the importance proposal distribution. We illustrate the efficiency of this method by evaluating the probability density function (pdf) for the radial distance of photons exiting from a semi-infinite homogeneous tissue as well as the pdf for the maximum penetration depth of photons propagating in an inhomogeneous tissue. The results agree very well with diffusion theory as well as classical Monte-Carlo simulations. A six to sevenfold improvement in computational time is achieved by the MMC algorithm in calculating pdf values as low as 10-8. This result suggests that the MMC method can be useful in efficiently studying numerous applications of light propagation in complex biological media where the remitted photon yield is low.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9822-9833
Number of pages12
JournalOptics Express
Issue number24
StatePublished - 28 Nov 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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