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Biophys J. 2002 Jun;82(6):3330-42.

Polarization-modulated second harmonic generation in collagen.

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  • 1Medical Technology Program, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, California 94551, USA. stoller2@llnl.gov


Collagen possesses a strong second-order nonlinear susceptibility, a nonlinear optical property characterized by second harmonic generation in the presence of intense laser beams. We present a new technique involving polarization modulation of an ultra-short pulse laser beam that can simultaneously determine collagen fiber orientation and a parameter related to the second-order nonlinear susceptibility. We demonstrate the ability to discriminate among different patterns of fibrillar orientation, as exemplified by tendon, fascia, cornea, and successive lamellar rings in an intervertebral disc. Fiber orientation can be measured as a function of depth with an axial resolution of approximately 10 microm. The parameter related to the second-order nonlinear susceptibility is sensitive to fiber disorganization, oblique incidence of the beam on the sample, and birefringence of the tissue. This parameter represents an aggregate measure of tissue optical properties that could potentially be used for optical imaging in vivo.

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