Abstract

Polarization-gating has been widely used to probe superficial tissue structures, but the penetration depth properties of this method have not been completely elucidated. This study employs a polarization-sensitive Monte Carlo method to characterize the penetration depth statistics of polarization-gating. The analysis demonstrates that the penetration depth depends on both the illumination-collection geometry [illumination-collection area (R) and collection angle (θc)] and on the optical properties of the sample, which include the scattering coefficient (μs), absorption coefficient (μa), anisotropy factor (g), and the type of the phase function. We develop a mathematical expression relating the average penetration depth to the illumination-collection beam properties and optical properties of the medium. Finally, we quantify the sensitivity of the average penetration depth to changes in optical properties for different geometries of illumination and collection. The penetration depth model derived in this study can be applied to optimizing application-specific fiber-optic probes to target a sampling depth of interest with minimal sensitivity to the optical properties of the sample.

© 2012 Optical Society of America

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