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Polydimethylsiloxane tissue-mimicking phantoms with tunable optical properties



Aaron Goldfain, Paul Lemaillet, David W. Allen, Kimberly Briggman, Jeeseong C. Hwang


We report on techniques to manufacture and characterize solid tissue-mimicking phantoms of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) polymers. Tunability of the absorption (a()) and reduced scattering spectra (s'()) in the wavelength range of 500 nm to 850 nm is demonstrated by adjusting the concentrations of light absorbing carbon black powder (CBP) and light scattering titanium dioxide powder (TDP) added into the PDMS base material. The a() and s'() spectra of the phantoms were obtained through measurements with a NIST broadband integrating sphere system and by applying an inverse adding doubling algorithm. Analyses of a() and s'() of the phantoms, by fitting them to linear and power law functions, respectively, demonstrate that independent control of a() and s'() is possible by systematically varying the concentrations of CBP and TDP. This analysis quantifies the characteristics of the phantoms with 4 simple fitting parameters enabling a concise tabulation of their broadband characteristics as well as comparisons to the optical properties of biological tissues. We demonstrate that, to a limited extent, the optical properties of our phantoms mimic those of human tissues of various types, but to a limited extent. A possible way to overcome this limitation is demonstrated with phantoms that incorporate polystyrene microbead scatterers. Our manufacturing and analysis techniques may further promote the application of PDMS-based tissue-mimicking phantoms and may enable robust quality control and quality checks of the phantoms.
Journal of Biomedical Optics


Tissue-mimicking phantom, polydimethylsiloxane, PDMS, integrating sphere, scattering


Goldfain, A. , Lemaillet, P. , Allen, D. , Briggman, K. and Hwang, J. (2022), Polydimethylsiloxane tissue-mimicking phantoms with tunable optical properties, Journal of Biomedical Optics, [online],, (Accessed May 22, 2024)


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Created July 1, 2022, Updated December 1, 2022