Optical properties of biological tissues: a review

Phys Med Biol. 2013 Jun 7;58(11):R37-61. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/58/11/R37. Epub 2013 May 10.


A review of reported tissue optical properties summarizes the wavelength-dependent behavior of scattering and absorption. Formulae are presented for generating the optical properties of a generic tissue with variable amounts of absorbing chromophores (blood, water, melanin, fat, yellow pigments) and a variable balance between small-scale scatterers and large-scale scatterers in the ultrastructures of cells and tissues.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anisotropy
  • Biology / methods*
  • Humans
  • Optical Phenomena*