Uniqueness Theorems in Bioluminescence Tomography

Motivated by bioluminescent imaging needs for studies on gene therapy and other applications in the mouse models, a bioluminescence tomography (BLT) system is being developed in the University of Iowa. While the forward imaging model is described by the well-known diffusion equation, the inverse problem is to recover an internal bioluminescent source distribution subject to Cauchy data. Our primary goal in this paper is to establish the solution uniqueness for BLT under practical constraints despite the ill-posedness of the inverse problem in the general case. After a review on the inverse source literature, we demonstrate that in the general case the BLT solution is not unique by constructing the set of all the solutions to this inverse problem. Then, we show the uniqueness of the solution in the case of impulse sources. Finally, we present our main theorem that solid/hollow ball sources can be uniquely determined up to nonradiating sources. For better readability, the exact conditions for and rigorous proofs of the theorems are given in the Appendices. Further research directions are also discussed.