Calculating coherent light-wave propagation in large heterogeneous media

T Vettenburg, S A R Horsley, J Bertolotti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
134 Downloads (Pure)


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
Pages (from-to)11946-11967
Number of pages22
JournalOptics Express
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2019


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