Real-time Jones phase microscopy for studying transparent and birefringent specimens

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Tissue birefringence is an intrinsic marker of potential value for cancer diagnosis. Traditionally, birefringence properties have been studied by using intensity-based formalisms, through the Mueller matrix algebra. On the other hand, the Jones matrix description allows for a direct assessment of the sample’s anisotropic response. However, because Jones algebra is based on complex fields, requiring measurements of both phase and amplitude, it is less commonly used. Here we propose a real-time imaging method for measuring Jones matrices by quantitative phase imaging. We combine a broadband phase imaging system with a polarization-sensitive detector to obtain Jones matrices at each point in a megapixel scale image, with near video rate capture speeds. To validate the utility of our approach, we measured standard targets, partially birefringent samples, dynamic specimens, and thinly sliced histopathological tissue.

Chenfei Hu