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Published December 1, 2000 | Published
Journal Article Open

Depth-resolved two-dimensional Stokes vectors of backscattered light and Mueller matrices of biological tissue measured with optical coherence tomography


Mueller matrices provide a complete characterization of the optical polarization properties of biological tissue. A polarization-sensitive optical coherence tomography (OCT) system was built and used to investigate the optical polarization properties of biological tissues and other turbid media. The apparent degree of polarization (DOP) of the backscattered light was measured with both liquid and solid scattering samples. The DOP maintains the value of unity within the detectable depth for the solid sample, whereas the DOP decreases with the optical depth for the liquid sample. Two-dimensional depth-resolved images of both the Stokes vectors of the backscattered light and the full Mueller matrices of biological tissue were measured with this system. These polarization measurements revealed some tissue structures that are not perceptible with standard OCT.

Additional Information

© 2000 Optical Society of America. Received 4 April 2000; revised manuscript received 11 August 2000. This study was sponsored in part by National Institutes of Health grants R29 CA68562, R01 CA71980, and R21 CA83760; by National Science Foundation grant BES-9734491; and by Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board grant 000512-0123-1999.

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