Diffuse optics is a powerful tool for clinical applications ranging from oncology to neurology, but also for molecular imaging, and quality assessment of food, wood and pharmaceuticals. We show that ideally time-domain diffuse optics can give higher contrast and a higher penetration depth with respect to standard technology. In order to completely exploit the advantages of a time-domain system a distribution of sources and detectors with fast gating capabilities covering all the sample surface is needed. Here, we present the building block to build up such system. This basic component is made of a miniaturised source-detector pair embedded into the probe based on pulsed Vertical-Cavity Surface-Emitting Lasers (VCSEL) as sources and Single-Photon Avalanche Diodes (SPAD) or Silicon Photomultipliers (SiPM) as detectors. The possibility to miniaturized and dramatically increase the number of source detectors pairs open the way to an advancement of diffuse optics in terms of improvement of performances and exploration of new applications. Furthermore, availability of compact devices with reduction in size and cost can boost the application of this technique.
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