Polarisation sensitive optical coherence tomography (PS-OCT) offers additional intrinsic contrast to probe differences between healthy tissue and cancer that are often barely visible due to limited scattering contrast in an OCT image. PS-OCT reconstructs tissue birefringence from phase-sensitive measurements of orthogonal polarisation components of backscattering. In material science, polarisation has been used to study stress distribution, including the birefringence induced by stress in an otherwise isotropic material. Similar effects in biological tissues have not been well studied yet; however, may have application to tissues subjected to stress, e.g., tendons, muscles, lens, cornea or airway smooth muscle (ASM). The objective of this work is to explore stress-induced birefringence in tissue. We employ an advanced swept source-based PS-OCT system capable of measurement of tissue local polarisation properties. The sample in both cases is illuminated with orthogonal, passively depth-encoded polarisation states. Light returning from the tissue is detected via a polarisation-diversity detection module and a Mueller formalism is used to reconstruct polarisation properties (including retardation, diattenuation, and depolarisation) of the tissue. In this study, we demonstrate the measurement of stress-induced birefringence in phantoms and in soft tissues with polarisation sensitive optical coherence tomography.
Karol Karnowski, Qingyun Li, Martin Villiger, and David D. Sampson, "Investigation of stress-induced birefringence of tissue determined with polarisation sensitive optical coherence tomography (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10067, Optical Elastography and Tissue Biomechanics IV, 100670P (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 29, 2017; Published: 24 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2251519.5380018835001.
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