Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Characterization of cell samples from measurements of spectroscopic scattering phase dispersion



Shellee D. Dyer, Lara Roberson, Shelley M. Etzel, Tasshi Dennis, Andrew Dienstfrey, Vadim Tsvankin, Wei Tan


We present spectroscopic swept-source optical coherence tomography (OCT) measurements of the phase-dispersion of cell samples. We have previously demonstrated that the phase of the scattered field is, in general, independent of the intensity, and both must be measured for a complete characterization of the sample. In this paper, we show that, in addition to providing a measurement of the size of the cell nuclei, the phase spectrum provides a very sensitive indication of the separations between the cells. Epithelial cancers are characterized by many factors, including enlarged nuclei and a significant loss in the architectural orientation of the cells. Therefore, an in vivo diagnostic tool which analyzes multiple properties of the sample instead of focusing on cellular nuclei sizes alone could provide a better assessment of tissue health. We show that the phase spectrum of the scattered light appears to be more sensitive to cell spacing than the intensity spectrum. It is possible to determine simultaneously the cell nuclei sizes from the intensity spectrum and the nuclei spacing from the phase spectrum. We measure cell monolayer samples with high and low cell density and compare measured results with a histogram of the cell separations calculated from a microscope image of the samples. We show reasonably good agreement between the predicted histograms and the interferometric results.
Proceedings Title
Biomedical Applications of Light Scattering
Conference Dates
January 20-25, 2007
Conference Location
San Jose, CA, USA


dispersion, interferometry, optical coherence tomography, phase measurement, scattering measurements


Dyer, S. , Roberson, L. , Etzel, S. , Dennis, T. , Dienstfrey, A. , Tsvankin, V. and Tan, W. (2007), Characterization of cell samples from measurements of spectroscopic scattering phase dispersion, Biomedical Applications of Light Scattering, San Jose, CA, USA, [online], (Accessed July 18, 2024)


If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact

Created January 18, 2007, Updated October 12, 2021