Phase-encoded retinotopy as an evaluation of diffuse optical neuroimaging

Brian R. White, Joseph P. Culver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Optical techniques enable portable, non-invasive functional neuroimaging. However, low lateral resolution and poor discrimination between brain hemodynamics and systemic contaminants have hampered the translation of near infrared spectroscopy from research instrument to widespread neuroscience tool. In this paper, we demonstrate that improvements in spatial resolution and signal-to-noise, afforded by recently developed high-density diffuse optical tomography approaches, now permit detailed phase-encoded mapping of the visual cortex's retinotopic organization. Due to its highly organized structure, the visual cortex has long served as a benchmark for judging neuroimaging techniques, including the original development of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and positron emission tomography. Using phase-encoded visual stimuli that create traveling waves of cortical activations, we are able to discriminate the representations of multiple visual angles and eccentricities within an individual hemisphere, reproducing classic fMRI results. High contrast-to-noise and repeatable imaging allow the detection of inter-subject differences. These results represent a significant advancement in the level of detail that can be obtained from non-invasive optical imaging of functional brain responses. In addition, these phase-encoded paradigms and the maps they generate form a standardized model with which to judge new developments in optical algorithms and systems, such as new image reconstruction techniques and registration with anatomic imaging. With these advances in techniques and validation paradigms, optical neuroimaging can be extended into studies of higher-order brain function and of clinical utility with greater performance and confidence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)568-577
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010


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