Abstract

Striking light-scattering behavior was observed from a marine dinoflagellate, Prorocentrum micans. Measurements of the angular dependence of the 16 Mueller matrix elements were performed on single cells with a polarization-modulation nephelometer by using a new method for cell immobilization. First the dinoflagellate cells were immobilized in a transparent silica gel containing alcohol, and then a second liquid was diffused into the gel to match the index of refraction of the gel network, thereby producing a transparent support medium that scatters less than one tenth the amount of light scattered by a single cell at 90°. Measurements of scattering by a single cell revealed that all 16 matrix elements were significantly nonzero and different from each other. All matrix elements have an extremely rich, reproducible structure that is highly dependent on cell orientation. The matrix elements symmetrically across the diagonal were not equivalent. Striking features of the measurements are the large peak values of S13, S14, and other off-diagonal block elements. We believe that this is the first report of such scattering signals by single, suspended marine microorganisms.

© 1992 Optical Society of America

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