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J Biomed Opt. 2009 Jan-Feb;14(1):014029. doi: 10.1117/1.3065545.

Proof-of-principle demonstration of a Mueller matrix decomposition method for polarized light tissue characterization in vivo.

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Ontario Cancer Institute, Division of Biophysics and Bioimaging, University Health Network, 610 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M5G 2M9 Canada.


We demonstrate the first in vivo use of a Mueller matrix decomposition method for polarization-based characterization of tissue. Collagenase is injected into a region of dermal tissue in a dorsal skin window chamber in a nude mouse to alter the structure of the extracellular matrix. Mueller matrices for polarized light transmitted through the window chamber in the collagenase-treated region, as well as a distal control region, are measured. From the measured matrices, the individual constituent polarization properties of the tissue are extracted through polar matrix decomposition. Large decreases in birefringence and depolarization are seen in the collagenase-treated region due to the destruction of collagen, showing the potential for this method to monitor the organization and structural anisotropy of tissue. This study represents the first in vivo demonstration of a Mueller matrix decomposition method for polarimetric tissue characterization.

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