, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 129-137

The absorption and scattering of light in bovine and human dental enamel

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Abstract

The reflectance and transmission of thin slabs of dental enamel has been measured at all wavelengths between 220 and 700 nm by means of an integrating sphere. From the results the true scattering and absorption coefficients have been computed. The theoretical model used is an extended two-flux model, which is presented and discussed. The absorption spectrum of the dissolved organic component of enamel was also determined. An absorption peak at 270 nm is common to all the spectra. This peak in the bovine enamel spectrum is about three times as high as in the spectrum of human enamel. The peak of the dissolved material is about as high as the peak of the corresponding enamel. Hence it is concluded that the organic component, presumably aromatic amino acids, is responsible for most or all of the observed optical absorption.