Scattering of polarized light by tissues

Steven L. Jacques

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


The transition of linearly polarized light into randomly polarized light is discussed in terms of a diffusion process characterized by a diffusivity [radians2/mean free path] for the change in orientation of the polarized light. The linearly polarized transmission data of Jary et al. (Applied Optics 37:7357-7367, 1998) and the circularly polarized transmission data of Schmitt et al. (Applied Optics 31:6535-6546, 1992) are analyzed. The results indicate that tissues (liver, blood) exhibit a lower diffusivity, 0.0015 [radians2/mean free path], relative to the diffusivity of polystyrene microspheres in the 0.2-1.0 μm dia. range in water (2.0-0.025 [rad2/mfp]). The tissue diffusivity would equal the diffusivity expected for a 2.8-μm dia. polystyrene sphere in water if the linear polarization behavior for polystyrene microspheres is extrapolated linearly to larger diameters that match the behavior for tissues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)435-444
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - Dec 1 1999
EventProceedings of the 1999 Optical Tomography and Spectroscopy of Tissue III - San Jose, CA, USA
Duration: Jan 24 1999Jan 28 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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