We report on the use of an effective Mueller matrix to characterize the spatially-resolved diffuse backscattering Mueller matrix patterns of highly scattering media. The matrix expressions are based on assuming that the photon trajectories include only three scattering events. The numerically determined effective Mueller matrix elements are compared with the Monte Carlo simulated diffuse backscattering Mueller matrix for the polystyrene sphere suspensions. The results show that the two-dimensional intensity pattern maps of the effective Mueller matrix elements have good agreements with Monte Carlo simulations in azimuthal structure symmetry and radial dependence. It is demonstrated that this effective Mueller matrix can be used to quantitatively predict and interpret an experimentally-determined diffuse backscattering Mueller matrix from highly scattering media.
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