ABSTRACT: A need exists for the continued development of diagnostic tools and methods capable of distinguishing and characterizing slight differences in the optical properties of tissues. We present a method to estimate the scattering coefficient contribution as a function of particle size in complex mixtures of polystyrene spheres. The experimental method we used is a Mueller matrix imaging approach. The Mueller matrix encodes the polarization-dependent properties of the sample and describes how a given sample will transform an incident light polarization state. A partial least-squares approach is used to form a model around a set of Mueller matrix image-based measurements to accurately predict the individual scattering coefficient contributions in phantoms containing 0.2, 0.5, 1, and 2 microm-diameter polystyrene spheres. The results show individual scattering coefficient contribution errors as low as 0.1585 cm(-1) can be achieved. In addition, it is shown how the scattering type (i.e., Rayleigh and Mie) is encoded within the Mueller matrix. Such methods may eventually lead to the development of improved diagnostic tools capable of characterizing and distinguishing between tissue abnormalities, such as superficial cancerous lesions from their benign counterparts.
Journal of Biomedical Optics 11(5):054031. · 3.16 Impact Factor