Polarized light has many applications in biomedical imaging. The interaction of a biological sample with polarized light reveals information about its biological composition, both structural and functional. The most comprehensive type of polarimetry analysis is to measure the Mueller matrix, a polarization transfer function that completely describes how a sample interacts with polarized light. However, determination of the Mueller matrix requires tissue analysis under many different states of polarized light; a time consuming and measurement intensive process. Here we address this limitation with a new rapid polarimetry system, and use this polarimetry platform to investigate a variety of tissue changes associated with breast cancer.
We have recently developed a rapid polarimetry imaging platform based on four photoelastic modulators (PEMs). The PEMs generate fast polarization modulations that allow the complete sample Mueller matrix to be imaged over a large field of view, with no moving parts. This polarimetry system is then demonstrated to be sensitive to a variety of tissue changes that are relevant to breast cancer. Specifically, we show that changes in depolarization can reveal tumor margins, and can differentiate between viable and necrotic breast cancer metastasized to the lymph nodes. Furthermore, the polarimetric property of linear retardance (related to birefringence) is dependent on collagen organization in the extracellular matrix. These findings indicate that our polarimetry platform may have future applications in fields such as breast cancer diagnosis, improving the speed and efficacy of intraoperative pathology, and providing prognostic information that may be beneficial for guiding treatment.
Adam Gribble and Alex Vitkin, "Mueller matrix polarimetry imaging for breast cancer analysis (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10043, Diagnosis and Treatment of Diseases in the Breast and Reproductive System, 100430I (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 29, 2017; Published: 19 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2253417.5370007605001.
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