Design, testing, and clinical studies of a handheld polarized light camera

Jessica C. Ramella-Roman, Ken Lee, Scott A. Prahl, Steven L. Jacques

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Polarized light imaging has been used to detect the borders of skin cancer and facilitate assessment of cancer boundaries. A design for an inexpensive handheld polarized camera is presented and clinical images acquired with this prototype are shown. The camera is built with two universal serial bus (USB) color video cameras, a polarizing beamsplitter cube, and a 43 objective lens. Illumination is provided by three white LEDs and a sheet polarizer. Horizontal and vertical linearly polarized reflected images are processed at 7 frames/s and a resulting polarized image is displayed on screen. We compare the performances of cheap USB camera and a 16-bit electronically cooled camera. Dark noise and image repeatability are compared. In both cases, the 16-bit camera outperforms the USB cameras. Despite these limitations, the results obtained with this USB prototype are very satisfactory. Examples of polarized images of lesions taken prior to surgery are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1305-1310
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of biomedical optics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2004


  • Imaging
  • Light transport
  • Polarized light
  • Tissue optical properties

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Design, testing, and clinical studies of a handheld polarized light camera'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this