The optical properties of biological tissues under stretching are investigated using a full-field ellipsometry technique based on a differential Mueller matrix formalism. Traditional photoelastic-based formalism for extracting the linear birefringence (LB) properties of stretched anisotropic optical samples ignores the effects of the other optical properties of the sample. By contrast, in the formalism proposed in this study, the LB, linear dichroism (LD), circular birefringence (CB), circular dichroism (CD), and depolarization (Dep) properties are fully decoupled. Simulations are performed to evaluate the performance of the two formalisms in extracting the LB properties of optically anisotropic samples with different degrees of Dep, CB, LD, and CD. The practical feasibility of the proposed all-parameter decoupled formalism is then demonstrated using chicken breast muscle tissue. In general, the results show that both formalisms provide a reliable LB measurement performance for healthy chicken breast tissue under stretching. However, while the LB-only formalism has good robustness toward scattering, its measurement performance is seriously degraded for samples with high CB. Thus, of the two formalisms, the proposed all-parameter decoupled formalism provides a more effective approach for examining the anisotropic properties of biological tissues under stretching.
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