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Opt Express. 1999 Dec 20;5(13):302-17.

Reflectance spectroscopy with polarized light: is it sensitive to cellular and nuclear morphology.


We present a method for selective detection of size-dependent scattering characteristics of epithelial cells in vivo based on polarized illumination and polarization sensitive detection of scattered light. We illustrate the method using phantoms designed to simulate squamous epithelial tissue and progressing to epithelial tissue in vitro and in vivo. Elastic light scattering spectroscopy with polarized illumination/detection dramatically reduces background signals due to both diffuse stromal scattering and hemoglobin absorption. Resulting spectra can be described as a linear combination of forward and backscattering components determined from Mie theory. Nuclear sizes and refractive indices extracted by fitting experimental spectra to this model agree well with previous measurements. Reflectance spectroscopy with polarized light can provide quantitative morphological information which could potentially be used for non-invasive detection of neoplastic changes.

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