A method is described to enhance the ability to evaluate the depth of a tissue component or a lesion having optical properties different from a surrounding tissue using time resolved optical methods. This invention may be particularly suitable for the evaluation of lesion depth during RF ablation (irreversible tissue modification/damage) using specially designed devises (catheters) that deliver heat in a localized region for therapeutic reasons. The technique allows for increased ability to evaluate the depth of the ablated lesion or detect the presence of other processes such as micro-bubble formation and coagulation with higher sensitivity compared to that offered by steady state spectroscopy. The method can be used for in-vivo, real-time monitoring during tissue ablation or other procedures where information on the depth of a lesion or tissue is needed. Exemplary uses are found in tissue ablation, tissue thermal damage, lesion and tissue depth assessment in medical applications.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
 The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. DE-AC52-07NA27344 between the U.S. Department of Energy and Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.