Calculating coherent light-wave propagation in large heterogeneous media

Tom Vettenburg, Simon A. R. Horsley, J. Bertolotti

Research output: Working paper/PreprintPreprint

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Understanding the interaction of light with a highly scattering material is essential for optical microscopy of optically thick and heterogeneous biological tissues. Ensemble-averaged analytic solutions cannot provide more than general predictions for relatively simple cases. Yet, biological tissues contain chiral organic molecules and many of the cells' structures are birefringent, a property exploited by polarization microscopy for label-free imaging. Solving Maxwell's equations in such materials is a notoriously hard problem. Here we present an efficient method to determine the propagation of electro-magnetic waves in arbitrary anisotropic materials. We demonstrate how the algorithm enables large scale calculations of the scattered light field in complex birefringent materials, chiral media, and even materials with a negative refractive index.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCornell University
Publication statusPublished - 26 Dec 2018


  • physics.comp-ph
  • physics.optics


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