Abstract

To investigate the influence of polarization on the polarized light propagation in biological tissue, a polarized geometric Monte Carlo method is developed. The Stokes–Mueller formalism is expounded to describe the shifting of light polarization during propagation events, including scattering and interface interaction. The scattering amplitudes and optical parameters of different tissue structures are obtained using Mie theory. Through simulations of polarized light (pulsed dye laser at wavelength of 585 nm) propagation in an infinite slab tissue model and a discrete vessel tissue model, energy depositions in tissue structures are calculated and compared with those obtained through general geometric Monte Carlo simulation under the same parameters but without consideration of polarization effect. It is found that the absorption depth of the polarized light is about one half of that determined by conventional simulations. In the discrete vessel model, low penetrability manifests in three aspects: diffuse reflection became the main contributor to the energy escape, the proportion of epidermal energy deposition increased significantly, and energy deposition in the blood became weaker and more uneven. This may indicate that the actual thermal damage of epidermis during the real-world treatment is higher and the deep buried blood vessels are insufficiently damaged by consideration of polarization effect, compared with the conventional prediction.

© 2016 Optical Society of America

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