Diffusing wave spectroscopy (DWS) and diffuse correlation spectroscopy (DCS) can assess blood flow index (BFI) of biological tissue with multiply scattered light. Though the main biological function of red blood cells (RBCs) is advection, in DWS/DCS, RBCs are assumed to undergo Brownian motion. To explain this discrepancy, we critically examine the cumulant approximation, a major assumption in DWS/DCS. We present a precise criterion for validity of the cumulant approximation, and in realistic tissue models, identify conditions that invalidate it. We show that, in physiologically relevant scenarios, the first cumulant term for random flow and second cumulant term for Brownian motion alone can cancel each other. In such circumstances, assuming pure Brownian motion of RBCs and the first cumulant approximation, a routine practice in DWS/DCS of BFI, can yield good agreement with data, but only because errors due to two incorrect assumptions cancel out. We conclude that correctly assessing random flow from scattered light dynamics requires going beyond the cumulant approximation and propose a more accurate model to do so.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics