Development of thin skin mimicking bilayer solid tissue phantoms for optical spectroscopic studies

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In vivo spectroscopic measurements have the proven potential to provide important insight about the changes in tissue during the development of malignancies and thus help to diagnose tissue pathologies. Extraction of intrinsic data in the presence of varying amounts of scatterers and absorbers offers great challenges in the development of such techniques to the clinical level. Fabrication of optical phantoms, tailored to the biochemical as well as morphological features of the target tissue, can help to generate a spectral database for a given optical spectral measurement system. Such databases, along with appropriate pattern matching algorithms, could be integrated with in vivo measurements for any desired quantitative analysis of the target tissue. This paper addresses the fabrication of such soft, photo stable, thin bilayer phantoms, mimicking skin tissue in layer dimensions and optical properties. The performance evaluation of the fabricated set of phantoms is carried out using a portable fluorescence spectral measurement system. The alterations in flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD)–a tissue fluorophore that provides important information about dysplastic progressions in tissues associated with cancer development based on changes in emission spectra–fluorescence with varied concentrations of absorbers and scatterers present in the phantom are analyzed and the results are presented. Alterations in the emission intensity, shift in emission wavelength and broadening of the emission spectrum were found to be potential markers in the assessment of biochemical changes that occur during the progression of dysplasia.