Non-invasive near infrared optical medical imaging devices for both hematoma detection in the brain and early tumor detection in the breast is achieved using image reconstruction which allows a mapping of the position dependent contrast diffusive propagation constants, which are related to the optical absorption coefficient and scattering coefficient in the tissue, at near infrared wavelengths. Spatial resolutions in the range of 5 mm for adult brain sizes and breast sizes can be achieved. The image reconstruction utilizes WKB approximation on most probable diffusion paths which has as lowest order approximation the straight line-of-sight between the plurality of sources and the plurality of detectors. The WKB approximation yields a set of linear equations in which the contrast optical absorption coefficients are the unknowns and for which signals can be generated to produce a pixel map of the contrast optical resolution of the scanned tissue.
This invention was made in part with the assistance of government funding under the Office of Naval Research (ONR) Grant No. N00014-92-J-4004 from the Department of Defense, the Office of Basic Energy Research Grant No. DE-FG03-88ER45378 from the Department of Energy. The government may have rights to the invention.