Polarized light propagation through scattering media: Time-resolved Monte Carlo simulations and experiments

Xueding Wang*, Lihong V. Wang, Chia-Wei Sun, Chih Chung Yang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

88 Scopus citations


A study of polarized light transmitted through randomly scattering media of a polystyrene-microsphere solution is described. Temporal profiles of the Stokes vectors and the degree of polarization are measured experimentally and calculated theoretically based on a Monte Carlo technique. The experimental results match the theoretical results well, which demonstrates that the time-resolved Monte Carlo technique is a powerful tool that can contribute to the understanding of polarization propagation in biological tissue. Analysis based on the Stokes-Mueller formalism and the Mie theory shows that the first scattering event determines the major spatial patterns of the transmitted Stokes vectors. When an area detected at the output surface of a turbid medium is circularly symmetrical about the incident beam, the temporal profile of the transmitted light is independent of the incident polarization state. A linear relationship between the average order of the scatters and the light propagation time can be used to explain the exponential decay of the degree of polarization of transmitted light.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)608-617
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biomedical Optics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2003


  • Light propagation
  • Monte Carlo
  • Polarized light
  • Scattering
  • Time-resolved
  • Ultrafast optics

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