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"Handbook of biomedical optics", edited by David A. Boas, Constantinos Pitris, and Nimmi Ramanujam

DOI: 10.1186/1475-925x-11-7

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Handbook of Biomedical OpticsCRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group, Boca Raton, London, New York, 2011ISBN: 978-1-4200-9036-9 (Hardback), 787 pagesBiomedical Optics is becoming increasingly important to medical applications. Its multidisciplinary knowledge has been expanding steadily and exponentially in the last few decades. Yet, despite the publication of a significant number of books in the field in recent years, there is a growing need of an extensive, all-encompassing reference book. The publication of Handbook of Biomedical Optics could, in my view, be considered a successive attempt in this direction.The book consists of 35 chapters organized into six parts.Part I contains introductory material on optics and optical properties of tissues. Although most of the material presented here can be found in basic books on geometrical optics, this part is a unique compendium of theoretically sound, well illustrated and directly applicable knowledge. I like the use of the matrix method in paraxial optics, which allows elegant formalization, as well as efficient implementation of geometrical optics in MATLAB models. Basic concepts such as electromagnetic waves and their motion, diffraction optics, refraction, reflection and transmission are explained briefly and yet precisely. In addition to light sources and detectors, issues like photobleaching, phototoxicity and thermal damage are discussed, and irradiation guidelines are presented. Particularly useful I find the chapter on optical properties of biological tissues (chapter 5), which gives pretty exhaustive data on absorption, transmission, reflectance and scattering of tissues from different organs at different wavelengths. Given that only a very few literature sources offer such data, I find this information valuable, especially for laser surgery and photodynamic therapy.Part II deals with spectroscopy and spectral imaging, as applied to biology and medicine. Of particular interest here are methods exploiting intrinsic

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