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Optics Letters

Optics Letters


  • Editor: Alan E. Willner
  • Vol. 35, Iss. 15 — Aug. 1, 2010
  • pp: 2639–2641

Physical insight into light scattering by photoreceptor cell nuclei

Moritz Kreysing, Lars Boyde, Jochen Guck, and Kevin J. Chalut  »View Author Affiliations

Optics Letters, Vol. 35, Issue 15, pp. 2639-2641 (2010)

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A recent study showed that the rod photoreceptor cell nuclei in the retina of nocturnal and diurnal mammals differ considerably in architecture: the location of euchromatin and heterochromatin in the nucleus is interchanged. This inversion has significant implications for the refractive index distribution and the light scattering properties of the nucleus. Here, we extend previous two-dimensional analysis to three dimensions (3D) by using both a numerical finite-difference time-domain and an analytic Mie theory approach. We find that the specific arrangement of the chromatin phases in the nuclear core-shell models employed have little impact on the far-field scattering cross section. However, scattering in the near field, which is the relevant regime inside the retina, shows a significant difference between the two architectures. The “inverted” photoreceptor cell nuclei of nocturnal mammals act as collection lenses, with the lensing effect being much more pronounced in 3D than in two dimensions. This lensing helps to deliver light efficiently to the light-sensing outer segments of the rod photoreceptor cells and thereby improve night vision.

© 2010 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(170.3660) Medical optics and biotechnology : Light propagation in tissues
(290.4020) Scattering : Mie theory
(050.1755) Diffraction and gratings : Computational electromagnetic methods
(330.4595) Vision, color, and visual optics : Optical effects on vision
(330.4875) Vision, color, and visual optics : Optics of physiological systems
(330.7331) Vision, color, and visual optics : Visual optics, receptor optics

ToC Category:
Vision, Color, and Visual Optics

Original Manuscript: April 23, 2010
Revised Manuscript: July 9, 2010
Manuscript Accepted: July 9, 2010
Published: July 29, 2010

Virtual Issues
Vol. 5, Iss. 12 Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics

Moritz Kreysing, Lars Boyde, Jochen Guck, and Kevin J. Chalut, "Physical insight into light scattering by photoreceptor cell nuclei," Opt. Lett. 35, 2639-2641 (2010)

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