Skip to Main Content
Fluorescence optical tomography is a noninvasive imaging modality that employs the absorption and reemission of light by fluorescent dyes. The aim is to reconstruct the fluorophore distribution in a body from measurements of light intensities at the boundary. Due to the diffusive nature of light propagation in tissue, fluorescence tomography is a nonlinear and severely ill-posed problem, and some sort of regularization is required for a stable solution. In this paper, we investigate reconstruction methods based on Tikhonov regularization with nonlinear penalty terms, namely total-variation regularization and a levelset-type method using a nonlinear parameterization of the unknown function. Moreover, we use the full 3-D nonlinear forward model, which arises from the governing system of partial differential equations. We discuss the numerical realization of the regularization schemes by Newton-type iterations, present some details of the discretization by finite-element methods, and outline the efficient implementation of sensitivity systems via adjoint methods. As we will demonstrate in numerical tests, the proposed nonlinear methods provide better reconstructions than standard methods based on linearized forward models and linear penalty terms. We will additionally illustrate that the careful discretization of the methods derived on the continuous level allows us to obtain reliable, mesh-independent reconstruction algorithms.