Polarization recovery through scattering media

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Science Advances  01 Sep 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 9, e1600743
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1600743

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The control and use of light polarization in optical sciences and engineering are widespread. Despite remarkable developments in polarization-resolved imaging for life sciences, their transposition to strongly scattering media is currently not possible, because of the inherent depolarization effects arising from multiple scattering. We show an unprecedented phenomenon that opens new possibilities for polarization-resolved microscopy in strongly scattering media: polarization recovery via broadband wavefront shaping. We demonstrate focusing and recovery of the original injected polarization state without using any polarizing optics at the detection. To enable molecular-level structural imaging, an arbitrary rotation of the input polarization does not degrade the quality of the focus. We further exploit the robustness of polarization recovery for structural imaging of biological tissues through scattering media. We retrieve molecular-level organization information of collagen fibers by polarization-resolved second harmonic generation, a topic of wide interest for diagnosis in biomedical optics. Ultimately, the observation of this new phenomenon paves the way for extending current polarization-based methods to strongly scattering environments.

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