Refractive index variance of cells and tissues measured by quantitative phase imaging

Posted on January 23, 2017 by Chenfei Hu

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The refractive index distribution of cells and tissues governs their interaction with light and can report on morphological modifications associated with disease. Through intensity-based measurements, refractive index information can be extracted only via scattering models that approximate light propagation. As a result, current knowledge of refractive index distributions across various tissues and cell types remains limited. Here we use quantitative phase imaging and the statistical dispersion relation (SDR) to extract information about the refractive index variance in a variety of specimens. Due to the phase-resolved measurement in three-dimensions, our approach yields refractive index results without prior knowledge about the tissue thickness. With the recent progress in quantitative phase imaging systems, we anticipate that using SDR will become routine in assessing tissue optical properties.