Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

MS in Electrical Engineering (M.S.E.E.)

Degree Granting Department

Electrical Engineering

Major Professor

Ashwin B. Parthasarathy, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Andrew Hoff, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Ann Eddins, Ph.D.


Absolute concentration, fNIRS, Modified Beer-Lambert law, FD-DOS, Functional activation


Functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) is a safe, low-cost, non-invasive opti-cal technique to monitor focal changes in brain activity using neurovascular coupling and measurements of local tissue oxygenation, i.e., changes in concentrations of oxygenated hemoglobin (HbO) and deoxygenated hemoglobin (HbR)[42]. This thesis utilizes two fNIRS approaches to measure hemodynamic changes associated with functional stimulation of the human auditory cortex. The first approach, single-distance continuous wave NIRS (CW-NIRS) utilizes relatively simple instrumentation and the Modified-Beer Lambert (MBL) law to estimate activation induced changes in tissue oxygenation (∆CHbO and ∆CHbR)[17]. The second more complex approach, frequency domain NIRS (FD-NIRS), employs a photon diffusion model of light propagation through tissue to measure both baseline (CHbO and CHbR), and stimulus induced changes in oxygenated and deoxygenated hemoglobin[10]. FD-NIRS is more quantitative, but requires measurements at multiple light source-detector separations and thus its use in measuring focal changes in cerebral hemodynamics have been limited.

A commercial FD-NIRS instrument was used to measure the cerebral hemodynamics from the right auditory cortex of 9 adults (21 ± 35 years) with normal hearing, while presented with two types of auditory stimuli: a 1000 Hz Pure tone, and Broad band noise. Measured optical intensities were analyzed using both MBL and photon diffusion approaches. Oxygenated hemoglobin was found to increase by 0.351 ± 0.116 µM and 0.060 ± 0.084 µM for Pure tone and Broad band noise stimuli, when analyzed by the MBL method at the ‘best’ source-detector separation. On average (across all sources), MBL analysis estimated an increase in CHbO of 0.100±0.075 µM and 0.099±0.084 µM respectively for Pure tone and Broad band noise stimulation. In contrast, the frequency domain analysis method estimated CHbO to increase by −0.401 ± 0.384 µM and −0.031 ± 0.358 µM for Pure tone and Broad band noise stimulation respectively. These results suggest that although more quantitative, multi-distance FD-NIRS may underestimate focal changes in cerebral hemodynamics that occur due to functional activation. Potential reasons for this discrepancy, including the partial volume effect, are discussed.