Photoplethysmography (PPG) is a non-invasive photometric technique that measures the volume changes in arterial blood. Recent studies have reported limitations in developing and optimising PPG-based sensing technologies due to unavailability of the fundamental information such as PPG-pathlength and penetration depth in a certain region of interest (ROI) in the human body. In this paper, a robust computational model of a dual wavelength PPG system was developed using Monte Carlo technique. A three-dimensional heterogeneous volume of a specific ROI (i.e., human finger) was exposed at the red (660 nm) and infrared (940 nm) wavelengths in the reflectance and transmittance modalities of PPG. The optical interactions with the individual pulsatile and non-pulsatile tissue-components were demonstrated and the optical parameters (e.g., pathlength, penetration depth, absorbance, reflectance and transmittance) were investigated. Results optimised the source-detector separation for a reflectance finger-PPG sensor. The analysis with the recorded absorbance, reflectance and transmittance confirmed the maximum and minimum impact of the dermis and bone tissue-layers, respectively, in the formation of a PPG signal. The results presented in the paper provide the necessary information to develop PPG-based transcutaneous sensors and to understand the origin of the ac and dc components of the PPG signal.
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