Characterization of depolarizing optical media by means of the entropy factor: application to biological tissues
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Polarized light imaging is a potential tool to obtain an adequate description of the properties of depolarizing media such as biological tissues. In many biomedical applications, for instance, dermatology, ophthalmology, or urology, imaging polarimetry provides a noninvasive diagnosis of a wide range of disease states, and, likewise, it could be applied to the study of internal tissues though the use of endoscopes that use optical fibers. We introduce an algebraic method, based on the Mueller-coherence matrix, for a clearer analysis of the polarization characteristics of depolarizing media via the entropy factor. First-order errors introduced by the measurement system are corrected. Entropy defines three kinds of media according to their depolarizing behavior, and several examples corresponding to each region are shown. The calculation of this factor provides clearer information than that provided by the traditional Mueller matrix in the analysis of biological tissue properties by polarization measurement techniques.
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