To construct robust calibrations of wood properties by near infrared spectroscopy, one must independently evaluate the spectral contributions of light absorption and light scattering. However, the light propagation in wooden cellular structures is difficult to interpret because these structures are complex, heterogeneous, and anisotropic. This study investigates the reduced scattering coefficients of softwood and hardwood (with ring-porous or diffuse-porous vessels) at 846 nm by time-resolved spectroscopy. It also evaluates the effect of wooden cellular structure and air-dry density on the light propagation. After determining the reduced scattering coefficients, we observed cross-sectional microscopic images of the wood samples. Eighty-five percent of the variation in the reduced scattering coefficients was explainable by the air-dry density, area ratio of the cell wall, and the median pore area. Monte Carlo simulations of the light propagation through wood revealed that most of the photon transport occurs in the cell-wall substance.
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