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Published February 18, 2011 | Published
Book Section - Chapter Open

Focusing light into turbid media: time-reversed ultrasonically encoded (TRUE) focusing


In turbid media such as biological tissues, light undergoes multiple scattering. Consequently, it is not possible to focus light at depths beyond one transport mean free path in such media. To break through this limit, we proposed and experimentally demonstrated a novel technique, based on ultrasonic encoding of diffused laser light and optical time reversal, which effectively focuses light into a turbid medium. In the experimental implementation of the Time-Reversed Ultrasonically Encoded (TRUE) optical focusing, a turbid medium was illuminated by a laser beam with a long coherence length. The incident light was multiply scattered inside the medium and ultrasonically encoded within the ultrasonic focal zone. The wavefront of the ultrasonically encoded light was then time reversed by a Phase Conjugate Mirror (PCM) outside the medium. The time-reversed (or phase conjugated) optical wavefront traced back the trajectories of the ultrasonically encoded diffused light, and converged to the ultrasonic focal zone. With a commercially available photorefractive crystal as the PCM, the main approaches for increasing focusing depth are to improve the efficiencies of ultrasonic encoding and time reversal. Our recent experiments showed that light can be focused into a 5-mm thick tissue-mimicking phantom (optical thickness = 50, i.e., geometric thickness = 50 mean free paths) with a dynamically adjustable focus. The TRUE optical focusing opens a door to focusing light into turbid media or manipulating light-matter interactions.

Additional Information

© 2011 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). This research is funded in part by the National Institutes of Health grants R01 EB000712 and U54 CA136398.

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