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Electric field Monte Carlo simulations of focal field distributions produced by tightly focused laser beams in tissues

Creative Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

The focal field distribution of tightly focused laser beams in turbid media is sensitive to optical scattering and therefore of direct relevance to image quality in confocal and nonlinear microscopy. A model that considers both the influence of scattering and diffraction on the amplitude and phase of the electric field in focused beam geometries is required to describe these distorted focal fields. We combine an electric field Monte Carlo approach that simulates the electric field propagation in turbid media with an angular-spectrum representation of diffraction theory to analyze the effect of tissue scattering properties on the focal field. In particular, we examine the impact of variations in the scattering coefficient (µs), single-scattering anisotropy (g), of the turbid medium and the numerical aperture of the focusing lens on the focal volume at various depths. The model predicts a scattering-induced broadening, amplitude loss, and depolarization of the focal field that corroborates experimental results. We find that both the width and the amplitude of the focal field are dictated primarily by µs with little influence from g. In addition, our model confirms that the depolarization rate is small compared to the amplitude loss of the tightly focused field.

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