Feature of the Week 04/24/2016: μOCT Imaging Using Depth of Focus Extension by Self-Imaging Wavefront Division in a Common-Path Fiber Optic Probe
Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is an attractive medical modality due to its ability to acquire high-resolution, cross-sectional images inside the body using flexible, small-diameter, scanning fiber optic probes. Conventional, cross-sectional OCT imaging technologies have approximately 10-μm axial resolution and 30-μm lateral resolution, specifications that enable the visualization of microscopic architectural morphology. While this resolution is useful for many clinical applications, it is insufficient for resolving individual cells that characterize many diseases. To address this gap, a supercontinuum-laser-based, μm-resolution OCT (μOCT) system and a 500 μm-diameter, extended depth of focus single fiber optic probe for endoscopic and intravascular imaging were designed and fabricated. At the distal tip of the fiber optic probe, a cylindrical waveguide was used to divide the wavefront to provide multiple circular propagation modes. Once transmitted through a relatively high NA lens (NA >0.1), these modes were projected as multiple coaxial foci (~3 μm full width at half maximum (FWHM)) over a greatly extended focal depth range. The distal tip of the probe also contained a common-path reference reflectance to minimize polarization and dispersion imbalances between sample and reference arm light. Measurements showed that the probe provides a 20-fold depth of focus extension, maintaining a 3-5 µm lateral resolution (FWHM of PSF) and a 2 μm axial resolution over a depth range of approximately 1 mm. These results suggest that this new optical configuration will be useful for achieving high-resolution, cross-sectional OCT imaging in catheter/endoscope-based medical imaging devices.
For more information see recent Article. Courtesy Biwei Yin from Massachusetts General Hospital.