Single Scattering Modeling of Speckle Correlation

Chen Bar, Marina Alterman, Ioannis Gkioulekas, Anat Levin. ICCP 2021.


Coherent images of scattering materials, such as biological tissue, typically exhibit high-frequency intensity fluctuations known as speckle. These seemingly noise-like speckle patterns have strong statistical correlation properties that have been successfully utilized by computational imaging systems in different application areas. Unfortunately, these properties are not well-understood, in part due to the difficulty of simulating physically-accurate speckle patterns. In this work, we propose a new model for speckle statistics based on a single scattering approximation, that is, the assumption that all light contributing to speckle correlation has scattered only once. Even though single-scattering models have been used in computer vision and graphics to approximate intensity images due to scattering, such models usually hold only for very optically thin materials, where light indeed does not scatter more than once. In contrast, we show that the single-scattering model for speckle correlation remains accurate for much thicker materials. We evaluate the accuracy of the single-scattering correlation model through exhaustive comparisons against an exact speckle correlation simulator. We additionally demonstrate the model’s accuracy through comparisons with real lab measurements. We show, that for many practical application settings, predictions from the single-scattering model are more accurate than those from other approximate models popular in optics, such as the diffusion and Fokker-Planck models. We show how to use the single-scattering model to derive closed-form expressions for speckle correlation, and how these expressions can facilitate the study of statistical speckle properties. In particular, we demonstrate that these expressions provide simple explanations for previously reported speckle properties, and lead to the discovery of new ones. Finally, we discuss potential applications for future computational imaging systems.