Polarized light has many applications in biomedical imaging. The interaction of a biological sample with polarized light reveals information about its composition, both structural and functional. For example, the polarimetry-derived metric of linear retardance (birefringence) is dependent on tissue structural organization (anisotropy) and can be used to diagnose myocardial infarct; circular birefringence (optical rotation) can measure glucose concentrations. 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. To derive this 4x4 matrix it is necessary to observe how a tissue interacts with different polarizations. A well-suited approach for tissue polarimetry is to use photoelastic modulators (PEMs), which dynamically modulate the polarization of light. Previously, we have demonstrated a rapid time-gated Stokes imaging system that is capable of characterizing the state of polarized light (the Stokes vector) over a large field, after interacting with any turbid media. This was accomplished by synchronizing CCD camera acquisition times relative to two PEMs using a field-programmable gate array (FPGA). Here, we extend this technology to four PEMs, yielding a polarimetry system that is capable of rapidly measuring the complete sample Mueller matrix over a large field of view, with no moving parts and no beam steering. We describe the calibration procedure and evaluate the accuracy of the measurements. Results are shown for tissue-mimicking phantoms, as well as initial biological samples.
Adam Gribble, Sanaz Alali, and Alex Vitkin, "Rapid Mueller matrix polarimetry imaging based on four photoelastic modulators with no moving parts (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 9698, Advanced Biomedical and Clinical Diagnostic and Surgical Guidance Systems XIV, 96980M (Presented at SPIE BiOS: February 15, 2016; Published: 27 April 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2213522.4828055426001.
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