Role of scattering and birefringence in phase retardation revealed by locus of Stokes vector on Poincaré sphere

Mariia Borovkova (Corresponding Author), Alexander Bykov, Alexey Popov, Igor Meglinski (Corresponding Author)

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Abstract

SIGNIFICANCE: Biological tissues are typically characterized by high anisotropic scattering and may also exhibit linear form birefringence. Both scattering and birefringence bias the phase shift between transverse electric field components of polarized light. These phase alterations are associated with particular structural malformations in the tissue. In fact, the majority of polarization-based techniques are unable to distinguish the nature of the phase shift induced by birefringence or scattering of light. AIM: We explore the distinct contributions of scattering and birefringence in the phase retardation of circularly polarized light propagated in turbid tissue-like scattering medium. APPROACH: The circularly polarized light in frame of Stokes polarimetry approach is used for the screening of biotissue phantoms and chicken skin samples. The change of optical properties in chicken skin is accomplished by optical clearing, which reduces scattering, and mechanical stretch, which induces birefringence. The change of optical properties of skin tissue is confirmed by spectrophotometric measurements and second-harmonic generation imaging. RESULTS: The contributions of scattering and birefringence in the phase retardation of circularly polarized light propagated in biological tissues are distinguished by the locus of the Stokes vector mapped on the Poincaré sphere. The phase retardation of circularly polarized light due to scattering alterations is assessed. The value of birefringence in chicken skin is estimated as 0.3  ×  10  -  3, which agrees with alternative studies. The change of birefringence of skin tissue due to mechanical stretch in the order of 10  -  6 is detected. CONCLUSIONS: While the polarimetric parameters on their own do not allow distinguishing the contributions of scattering and birefringence, the resultant Stokes vector trajectory on the Poincaré sphere reveals the role of scattering and birefringence in the total phase retardation. The described approach, applied independently or in combination with Mueller polarimetry, can be beneficial for the advanced characterization of various types of malformations within biological tissues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Biomedical Optics
Volume25
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • birefringence
  • optical polarimetry
  • Poincaré sphere
  • scattering
  • skin
  • tissue phantoms

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