Biomedical diagnostic with diffusely backscattered linearly and circularly polarized light

Andreas H. Hielscher, Angelia A. Eick, Judith R. Mourant, James P. Freyer, Irving J. Bigio

    Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


    We report on the development of a method that records spatially dependent intensity patterns of polarized light that is diffusely backscattered from turbid materials. It is demonstrated that these intensity patterns can be used to differentiate between suspensions of cancerous and non-cancerous cells and to observe different metabolic cell processes. Our technique employs polarized light from a He-Ne laser (λ= 543 nm), which is focused onto the surface of the scattering medium. A surface area of approximately 4×4 cm around the light input point is imaged through polarization-analysis optics onto a CCD camera. One can observe a manifold of intensity patterns by varying the polarization state of the incident laser light and changing the analyzer configuration to detect different polarization components of the backscattered light. Introducing the Mueller-matrix concept for diffusely backscattered light, a framework is provided to select a subset of measurements which comprehensively describe the optical properties of backscattering media.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)298-305
    Number of pages8
    JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
    StatePublished - 1997
    EventProceedings of Biomedical Sensing, Imaging and Tracking Technologies II - San Jose, CA, United States
    Duration: Feb 11 1997Feb 13 1997


    • Backscattering
    • Biological-cell suspensions
    • Cancer
    • Fibroblasts
    • Mueller matrix
    • Polarization
    • Polystyrene spheres
    • Stokes vector

    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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