Abstract

We report on the study of polarization properties of light propagating through transparent wood (TW), which is an anisotropically scattering medium, and consider two cases: completely polarized and totally unpolarized light. It was demonstrated that scattered light distribution is affected by the polarization state of incident light. Scattering is the most efficient for light polarized parallel to cellulose fibers. Furthermore, unpolarized light becomes partially polarized (with a polarization degree of 50%) after propagating through the TW. In the case of totally polarized incident light, however, the degree of polarization of transmitted light is decreased, in an extreme case to a few percent, and reveals an unusual angular dependence on the material orientation. The internal hierarchical complex structure of the material, in particular cellulose fibrils organized in lamellae, is believed to be responsible for the change of the light polarization degree. It was demonstrated that the depolarization properties are determined by the angle between the polarization of light and the wood fibers, emphasizing the impact of their internal structure, unique for different wood species.

© 2019 Optical Society of America

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