Phasor approach of Mueller matrix optical scanning microscopy for biological tissue imaging

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Biophysical Journal


Mueller matrix microscopy is an advanced imaging technique providing a full characterization of the optical polarization fingerprint of a sample. The Lu-Chipman (LC) decomposition, a method based on the modeling of elementary polarimetric arrangements and matrix inversions, is the gold standard to extract each polarimetric component separately. However, this models the optical system as a small number of discrete optical elements and requires a priori knowledge of the order in which these elements occur. In stratified media or when the ordering is not known, the interpretation of the LC decomposition becomes difficult. In this work, we propose a new, to our knowledge, representation dedicated to the study of biological tissues that combines Mueller matrix microscopy with a phasor approach. We demonstrate that this method provides an easier and direct interpretation of the retardance images in any birefringent material without the use of mathematical assumptions regarding the structure of the sample and yields comparable contrast to the LC decomposition. By validating this approach through numerical simulations, we demonstrate that it is able to give access to localized structural information, resulting in a simple determination of the birefringent parameters at the microscopic level. We apply our novel, to our knowledge, method to typical biological tissues that are of interest in the field of biomedical diagnosis.

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