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J Biomed Opt. 2007 Jan-Feb;12(1):014029.

Polarized light propagation in multiply scattering media exhibiting both linear birefringence and optical activity: Monte Carlo model and experimental methodology.

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  • 1Ontario Cancer Institute, Division of Biophysics and Bioimaging, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario M5G 2M9, Canada.


A Monte Carlo model for polarized light propagation in birefringent, optically active, multiply scattering media is developed in an effort to accurately represent the propagation of polarized light in biological tissue. The model employs the Jones N-matrix formalism to combine both linear birefringence and optical activity into a single effect that can be applied to photons as they propagate between scattering events. Polyacrylamide phantoms with strain-induced birefringence, sucrose-induced optical activity, and polystyrene microspheres as scattering particles are used for experimental validation. Measurements are made using a Stokes polarimeter that detects scattered light in different geometries, and compared to the results of Monte Carlo simulations run with similar parameters. The results show close agreement between the experimental measurements and Monte Carlo calculations for phantoms exhibiting turbidity and birefringence, as well as for phantoms exhibiting turbidity, birefringence, and optical activity. Other scattering-independent polarization properties can be incorporated into the developed Jones N-matrix formalism, enabling quantification of the polarization effects via an accurate polarization-sensitive Monte Carlo model.

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