Significant contrast in visible wavelength Mueller matrix images for healthy and pre-cancerous regions of excised cervical tissue is shown. A novel classification algorithm is used to compute a test statistic from a small patient population.
The rise of optical biopsy as an alternative to classical biopsy is dictated by ongoing technological progress: any type of measurements has to be fast, precise, non-invasive and implemented in-vivo. The use of polarized light for optical biopsy has a long history. As Mueller-Stokes formalism provides the most complete description of polarized light interaction with any type of sample (even depolarizing one) we explored the capabilities of in-house multi-wavelength Mueller imaging polarimeter for the detection of pre-malignancy and malignancy. Our studies were performed with both scattering phantom tissues (in transmission configuration) and specimens of human colon and uterine cervix (in backscattering configuration).
For the interpretation of measurement results we decomposed Mueller matrix of a sample into product of elementary Mueller matrices of homogeneous diattenuator, retarder, and depolarizer. This phenomenological approach does not require the exact solution of Maxwell equations and provides the “effective” values of polarimetric properties of sample.
Exploring differential Mueller matrix formalism for fluctuating medium we showed that depolarization in homogeneous turbid medium varied parabolically with the pathlength of transmitted light, while the standard deviation of elementary polarization properties of medium depends linearly on the concentration of scatterers.
Neither scattering phantoms nor human tissue possessed any measurable diattenuation in backscattering configuration. The polarimetric images of tissue depolarization power, scalar birefringence and orientation of optical axis were compared with the analysis of histological slides. The spectral dependence of depolarization power and scalar birefringence values ascertained the potential of imaging Mueller polarimetry to discriminate healthy and diseased tissue zones.
This paper reports a technique based on spectrally differential measurement for determining the full Mueller matrix of a biological sample through an optical fiber. In this technique, two close wavelengths were used simultaneously, one for characterizing the fiber and the other for characterizing the assembly of fiber and sample. The characteristics of the fiber measured at one wavelength were used to decouple its contribution from the measurement on the assembly of fiber and sample and then to extract sample Mueller matrix at the second wavelength. The proof of concept was experimentally validated by measuring polarimetric parameters of various calibrated optical components through the optical fiber. Then, polarimetric images of histological cuts of human colon tissues were measured, and retardance, diattenuation, and orientation of the main axes of fibrillar regions were displayed. Finally, these images were successfully compared with images obtained by a free space Mueller microscope. As the reported method does not use any moving component, it offers attractive integration possibilities with an endoscopic probe.