Scalable full-wave simulation of coherent light propagation through biological tissue

Jake A.J. Bewick, Peter R.T. Munro, Simon R. Arridge, James A. Guggenheim

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Simulating coherent light propagation through mm or cm scale biological tissues would aid in studying phenomena such as optical memory effects, optical focussing via wavefront shaping, and image formation in techniques such as optical coherence tomography. This is challenging however, because existing simulation methods are either not complete enough to model the underlying deterministic scattering and interference processes accurately, or are too computationally intensive to model large enough volumes of tissue. To address this challenge, we use the 'T-matrix' method to simulate coherent light propagation through a discrete particle model of tissue. Using this method, we find that the speckle pattern produced by a plane wave incident on a 100m thick tissue-like medium can be simulated in about a tenth of the time needed for a pseudospectral time-domain simulation. Moreover, by varying the plane wave's incident angle, the angular memory effect can be observed and the the angular memory correlation range measured. By demonstrating the method's efficiency and its applicability to studying a coherent phenomenon in a tissue like medium, this work could pave the way to modelling a range of coherent optical phenomena in deep tissue using this technique.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2021 IEEE Photonics Conference (IPC)
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Number of pages2
ISBN (Electronic)9781665416016
ISBN (Print)9781665446761 (PoD)
Publication statusPublished - 13 Nov 2021
Event2021 IEEE Photonics Conference, IPC 2021 - Virtual, Online, Canada
Duration: 18 Oct 202121 Oct 2021

Publication series

NameIEEE Photonics Conference
ISSN (Print)2374-0140
ISSN (Electronic)2575-274X


Conference2021 IEEE Photonics Conference, IPC 2021
CityVirtual, Online

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
‘is work is supported by: the EPSRC-funded UCL Centre for Doctoral Training in Intelligent, Integrated Imaging in Healthcare (i4health) (EP/S021930/1) and the Department of Health’s NIHR-funded Biomedical Research Centre at University College London Hospitals; the Royal Society (URF\R\191036; URF\R1\180435)

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 IEEE.


  • Biomedical optical imaging
  • Computational modeling
  • Biological system modeling
  • Optical propagation
  • Biological tissues
  • Speckle
  • Optical imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Instrumentation
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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