Background: Dispersion imbalance and polarization mismatch between the reference and sample arm signals can lead to image quality degradation in optical coherence tomography (OCT). One approach to reduce these image artifacts is to employ a common-path geometry in fiber-based probes. In this work, we report an 800 um diameter all-fiber common-path monolithic probe for coronary artery imaging where the reference signal is generated using an inline fiber partial reflector.
Methods: Our common-path probe was designed for swept-source based Fourier domain OCT at 1310 nm wavelength. A face of a coreless fiber was coated with gold and spliced to a standard SMF-28 single mode fiber creating an inline partial reflector, which acted as a reference surface. The other face of the coreless fiber was shaped into a ball lens for focusing. The optical elements were assembled within a 560 µm diameter drive shaft, which was attached to a rotary junction. The drive shaft was placed inside a transparent sheath having an outer diameter of 800 µm.
Results: With a source input power of 30mW, the inline common-path probe achieved a sensitivity of 104 dB. Images of human finger skin showed the characteristic layers of skin as well as features such as sweat ducts. Images of coronary arteries ex vivo obtained with this probe enabled visualization of the characteristic architectural morphology of the normal artery wall and known features of atherosclerotic plaque.
Conclusion: In this work, we have demonstrated a common path OCT probe for cardiovascular imaging. The probe is easy to fabricate, will reduce system complexity and overall cost. We believe that this design will be helpful in endoscopic applications that require high resolution and a compact form factor.
Kanwarpal Singh, Joseph A. Gardecki, and Guillermo J. Tearney, "Common path endoscopic probes for optical coherence tomography (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10040, Endoscopic Microscopy XII, 100400U (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 30, 2017; Published: 19 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2252771.5369883831001.
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