Phase-contrast microscopy shows that the structure of the refractive-index inhomogeneities in a variety of mammalian tissues resembles that of frozen turbulence. Viewed over a range of scales, the spectrum of index variations exhibits a power-law behavior for spatial frequencies spanning at least a decade (0.5–5 µm-1) and has an outer scale in the range of 4–10 µm, above which correlations are no longer seen. The observed structure function fits the classical Kolmogorov model of turbulence. These observations are fundamental to understanding light propagation in tissue and may provide clues about how tissues develop and organize.
© 1996 Optical Society of America
J. M. Schmitt and G. Kumar, "Turbulent nature of refractive-index variations in biological tissue," Opt. Lett. 21, 1310-1312 (1996)