Share Email Print

Journal of Biomedical Optics • Open Access

Optical properties of human skin
Author(s): Tom Lister; Philip A. Wright; Paul H. Chappell

Paper Abstract

A survey of the literature is presented that provides an analysis of the optical properties of human skin, with particular regard to their applications in medicine. Included is a description of the primary interactions of light with skin and how these are commonly estimated using radiative transfer theory (RTT). This is followed by analysis of measured RTT coefficients available in the literature. Orders of magnitude differences are found within published absorption and reduced-scattering coefficients. Causes for these discrepancies are discussed in detail, including contrasts between data acquired in vitro and in vivo. An analysis of the phase functions applied in skin optics, along with the remaining optical coefficients (anisotropy factors and refractive indices) is also included. The survey concludes that further work in the field is necessary to establish a definitive range of realistic coefficients for clinically normal skin.

Paper Details

Date Published: 24 September 2012
PDF: 15 pages
J. Biomed. Opt. 17(9) 090901 doi: 10.1117/1.JBO.17.9.090901
Published in: Journal of Biomedical Optics Volume 17, Issue 9
Show Author Affiliations
Tom Lister, Salisbury District Hospital (United Kingdom)
Philip A. Wright, Salisbury District Hospital (United Kingdom)
Paul H. Chappell, Univ. of Southampton (United Kingdom)

© SPIE. Terms of Use
Back to Top