We propose optical polarization imaging as a minimally invasive technique for measuring the mechanical properties of plastics and soft tissues through their change in reflectance properties with applied strain or force. We suggest that changes in surface roughness are responsible for the linear reflectivity changes with applied stretch or strain. Several aspects of this model are tested, including the dependence on the angle of incidence, the change in scattering and absorption coefficients with strain, and the lateral spatial resolution. The application of the technique to multilayer structures such as skin and competing optical effects such as laser speckle are discussed.
© 2003 Optical Society of America
(120.6660) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Surface measurements, roughness
(170.3660) Medical optics and biotechnology : Light propagation in tissues
(170.7050) Medical optics and biotechnology : Turbid media
Brian Schulkin, Hee C. Lim, Nejat Guzelsu, Glen Jannuzzi, and John F. Federici, "Polarized Light Reflection from Strained Sinusoidal Surfaces," Appl. Opt. 42, 5198-5208 (2003)