Anthony J. Fitzgerald, Emma Pickwell-MacPherson, Vincent P. Wallace
The aim of this work was to evaluate the capabilities of Debye theory combined with Finite Difference Time Domain (FDTD) methods to simulate the terahertz (THz) response of breast tissues. Being able to accurately model breast tissues in the THz regime would facilitate the understanding of image contrast parameters used in THz imaging of breast cancer. As a test case, the model was first validated using liquid water and simulated reflection pulses were compared to experimental measured pulses with very good agreement (p = 1.00). The responses of normal and cancerous breast tissues were simulated with Debye properties and the correlation with measured data was still high for tumour (p = 0.98) and less so for normal breast (p = 0.82). Sections of the time domain pulses showed clear differences that were also evident in the comparison of pulse parameter values. These deviations may arise from the presence of adipose and other inhomogeneities in the breast tissue that are not accounted for when using the Debye model. In conclusion, the study demonstrates the power of the model for simulating THz reflection imaging; however, for biological tissues extra Debye terms or a more detailed theory may be required to link THz image contrast to physiological composition and structural changes of breast tissue associated with differences between normal and tumour tissues.
This study was performed using TeraView's TPS spectra 1000 system. (TeraView, Cambridge, UK)