Lasers in Medical Science

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 379–390 | Cite as

The propagation of optical radiation in tissue. II: Optical properties of tissues and resulting fluence distributions

  • Michael S. Patterson
  • Brian C. Wilson
  • Douglas R. Wyman


This paper is the second of two reviewing the propagation of electromagnetic radiation of wavelength 0.25–10μm in tissue. This part begins with a discussion of how the fundamental optical interaction coefficients of tissue may be measured. Both direct methods, in which the coefficients are measured for optically thin samples, and indirect methods, in which the coefficients are inferred from measurements on bulk samples are described. The difficulties inherent in both types of measurement are outlined. Next the wavelength dependence of the scattering and absorption coefficient is discussed, both from a heuristic point of view and by illustration from current literature. We illustrate how the optical spectrum can be divided into regions where the propagation of light is dominated by absorption or scattering effects. Finally we show how the distribution of light fluence in these spectral regions is dramatically different and illustrate the important features of these distributions.

Key words

Tissue optics Absorption Scattering Fluence distribution 


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Copyright information

© Baillière Tindall 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael S. Patterson
    • 1
  • Brian C. Wilson
    • 1
  • Douglas R. Wyman
    • 1
  1. 1.Hamilton Regional Cancer Centre and McMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada

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