As shown in the system schematic (Fig. 1), the dual-channel PRBS generator is controlled by a National Instruments data acquisition (NI-DAQ) device for variable time delay. One of the output PRBS sequences is modulated by a 2-kHz square wave, which functions as the secondary modulation signal. Previously, we used an external Mach–Zehnder modulator to achieve modulated illumination. However, such a fiber-based external modulator is subject to the photorefractive effect, not to mention its high cost (around $6000). In this design, we chose an 850-nm high-speed vertical cavity surface emitting laser (VCSEL) diode (VIXAR Inc, MULTM-000-B002) as the light source, which could be direct intensity modulated with the modulation signal. The VCSEL is fiber coupled to a head mount for brain activity monitoring. A light guide (Edmund optics, 39-366) is also placed on the head mount with a fixed distance from the source fiber. It collects the diffuse reflectance from the brain or a tissue phantom. The collected light is coupled into a thermoelectrically cooled avalanche photodiode (TE-APD, based on Hamamatsu S2383), which converts the weak optical signal into an electrical signal. The optoelectrical signal is preamplified by low-noise amplifiers (not shown in Fig. 1) before demodulation. The first stage demodulation is done by mixing the preamplified optoelectrical signal with the time-delayed PRBS sequence. The down-converted signal is the time-resolved (for a specific time delay) diffuse light intensity carried by the 2 kHz square wave. It is digitized by the NI-DAQ device so that the second-stage demodulation can be carried out numerically on a PC. The sampling rate for the signal acquisition is . The integration time to record the raw signal for one specific time delay is set to 25 ms. A LABVIEW program on the PC is responsible for scanning the delay time, collecting the raw data, performing secondary demodulation, and recording the time-resolved diffuse light intensity, the so-called temporal point spread function (TPSF).