Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Ping He (Committee Member), Ulas Sunar (Committee Chair), Jeffrey Travers (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering (MSBME)


Burn injuries such as thermal burns, which are caused by contact with flames, hot liquids, hot surfaces, and other sources of high heat as well as chemical burns and electrical burns, affects at least 500,000 people in the United States, to which 45,000 of them require medical treatment and 3,500 of them result in death. It has also been reported that in the United States alone, fire results in a death approximately every three hours and an injury every 33 minutes. Early knowledge about burn severity can lead to improved outcome for patients. In this study, the changes in optical properties in human skin following thermal burn injuries were investigated. Human skin removed during body contouring procedures was burned for either 10 or 60 seconds using a metal block placed in boiling water. Multi-wavelength spatial frequency domain imaging (SFDI) measurements were performed on each sample and the optical properties (absorption and scattering parameters) were obtained at each wavelength. Multi-wavelength fitting was used to quantify scattering parameters, and these parameters were compared to histologic assessments of burn severity. Our results indicate substantial changes in optical parameters and changes, which correlate well with respect to burn severity. This study shows the characterization of thermal burn injury on human skin ex vivo by using the optical method of SFDI with high sensitivity and specificity. Due to more challenging conditions of layered skin structures with differing thickness in humans, ongoing work tackles combining high-resolution ultrasound imaging with SFDI for more accurate quantification of optical properties during in vivo clinical studies.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Biomedical, Industrial & Human Factors Engineering

Year Degree Awarded


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.