Scattering dominates light propagation in biological tissue, and therefore restricts both resolution and penetration depth in optical imaging within thick tissue. As photons travel into the diffusive regime, typically 1 mm beneath human skin, their trajectories transition from ballistic to diffusive due to the increased number of scattering events, which makes it impossible to focus, much less track, photon paths. Consequently, imaging methods that rely on controlled light illumination are ineffective in deep tissue. This problem has recently been addressed by a novel method capable of dynamically focusing light in thick scattering media via time reversal of ultrasonically encoded (TRUE) diffused light. Here, using photorefractive materials as phase conjugate mirrors, we show a direct visualization and dynamic control of optical focusing with this light delivery method, and demonstrate its application for focused fluorescence excitation and imaging in thick turbid media. These abilities are increasingly critical for understanding the dynamic interactions of light with biological matter and processes at different system levels, as well as their applications for biomedical diagnosis and therapy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)