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Quantifying optical anisotropy in soft tissue membranes using Mueller matrix imaging
Journal of Biomedical Optics  (IF3.17),  Pub Date : 2021-10-01, DOI: 10.1117/1.jbo.26.10.106001
Alexander W. Dixon, Andrew J. Taberner, Martyn P. Nash, Poul M. F. Nielsen

Significance: A non-destructive technique for accurately characterizing the spatial distribution of optical properties of soft tissue membranes may give improved outcomes in many tissue engineering applications. Aim: This study aimed to develop a non-destructive macroscopic imaging technique that is sensitive to optical anisotropy, typical of fibrous components in soft tissue membranes, and can address some of the difficulties caused by the complex turbid nature of these tissues. Approach: A near-infrared Mueller matrix imaging polarimeter employing logarithm decomposition was developed and used to conduct transmission measurements of all the polarization properties across the full thickness of bovine pericardium tissue. Results: The full Mueller matrix was measured across a 70 mm × 70 mm sample of calf bovine pericardium and revealed significant retardance (linear and circular) and depolarization in this tissue. Regions with a uniform axis of optical anisotropy were identified. Mueller matrix imaging demonstrated that the exhibited circular retardance was sufficient to lead to possible misinterpretation of apparent fiber orientation when using conventional polarization imaging techniques for such tissues. Conclusions: Mueller matrix imaging can identify regional distributions of optical anisotropy in calf bovine pericardium. This new capability is a promising development in non-destructive imaging for tissue selection.