A new technique called Ultrasound Tagging of Light (UTL) for imaging breast tissue is described. In this approach, photon localization in turbid tissue is achieved by cross- modulating a laser beam with focussed, pulsed ultrasound. Light which passes through the ultrasound focal spot is `tagged' with the frequency of the ultrasound pulse. The experimental system uses an Argon-Ion laser, a single PIN photodetector, and a 1 MHz fixed-focus pulsed ultrasound transducer. The utility of UTL as a photon localization technique in scattering media is examined using tissue phantoms consisting of gelatin and intralipid. In a separate study, in vivo optical reflectance spectrophotometry was performed on human breast tumors implanted intramuscularly and subcutaneously in nineteen nude mice. The validity of applying a quadruple wavelength breast cancer discrimination metric (developed using breast biopsy specimens) to the in vivo condition was tested. A scatter diagram for the in vivo model tumors based on this metric is presented using as the `normal' controls the hands and fingers of volunteers. Tumors at different growth stages were studied; these tumors ranged in size from a few millimeters to two centimeters. It is expected that when coupled with a suitable photon localization technique like UTL, spectral discrimination methods like this one will prove useful in the detection of breast cancer by non-ionizing means.© (1993) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.