Emission and absorption properties of indocyanine green (ICG) in Intralipid solution have been investigated. The study is focused on relatively low ICG concentration at a range of 0 to 20 μM. A diffusion model was used to analyze the emission properties of ICG solution at different concentrations. In the low-concentration region, the emission strength increases with the concentration of ICG, while in the high-concentration region, the emission decreases with the concentration. In general, a maximum of emission strength exists and its position (concentration) depends on the wavelength of the excitation light, the distance between the source and the detector, and the sample geometry and size. A so-called “inner-cell-effect” and re-absorption of emission photons are found to contribute to the decay of emission strength. Also, in the concentration range of 0 to 2 μM, ICG solution always has a higher absorption coefficient at wavelength 830 nm than that at 660 nm, which is quite different from the ICG in water case. © 2004 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers.