Diffuse backscattering Mueller matrices of highly scattering media

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report on the development of a method that records spatially dependent intensity patterns of polarized light that is diffusely backscattered from highly scattering media. It is demonstrated that these intensity patterns can be used to differentiate turbid media, such as polystyrene-sphere and biological-cell suspensions. 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 centered on the light input point is imaged through polarization-analysis optics onto a CCD camera. One can observe a large variety 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 that comprehensively describe the optical properties of backscattering media.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-453
Number of pages13
JournalOptics Express
Issue number13
StatePublished - Dec 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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