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Published July 1, 2002 | Published
Journal Article Open

Degree of polarization in laser speckles from turbid media: Implications in tissue optics


The degree of polarization (DOP) of laser-speckle fields, where the speckles were generated by a polarized laser beam incident upon two kinds of samples: ground glass and wax, was investigated within a single coherence area as well as over multiple coherence areas. For the surface-scattering ground glass, the incident polarization state was preserved in the speckle field, and hence the DOP remained at unity regardless of the area of detection. For the volume-scattering wax, the polarization states varied with positions in the field, and consequently the DOP depended on the area of detection: the DOP decreased with an increasing area of detection, and only when the area was much smaller than the coherence area would the DOP approach unity. A numerical simulation explained the experimental observation. These results are important for the understanding of polarization phenomena in turbid media such as biological tissue.

Additional Information

© 2002 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers. Paper TP-01 received Apr. 29, 2001; revised manuscript received Mar. 20, 2002; accepted for publication Mar. 29, 2002. We thank S. Jiao for experimental assistance. This project was sponsored in part by National Institutes of Health Grant No. R01 CA71980; National Science Foundation Grant No. BES-9734491; and Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Grant No. 000512-0123-1999.

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