Spectrally encoded endoscopy (SEE) is a miniature endoscopic technology that can acquire images of internal organs through a hair-thin probe. While most previously described SEE probes have been side viewing, forward-view (FV)-SEE is advantageous in certain clinical applications as it provides more natural navigation of the probe and has the potential to provide a wider field of view. Prior implementations of FV-SEE used multiple optical elements that increase fabrication complexity and may diminish the robustness of the device. In this paper, we present a new design that uses a monolithic optical element to realize FV-SEE imaging. The optical element is specially designed spacer, fabricated from a 500-μm-glass rod that has a mirror surface on one side and a grating stamped on its distal end. The mirror surface is used to change the incident angle on the grating to diffract the shortest wavelength of the spectrum so that it is parallel to the optical axis. Rotating the SEE optics creates a circular FV-SEE image. Custom-designed software processes FV-SEE images into circular images, which are displayed in real-time. In order to demonstrate this new design, we have constructed the FV-SEE optical element using a 1379 lines/mm diffraction grating. When illuminated with a source with a spectral bandwidth of 420-820 nm, the FV-SEE optical element provides 678 resolvable points per line. The imaging performance of the FV-SEE device was tested by imaging a USAF resolution target. SEE images showed that this new approach generates high quality images in the forward field with a field of view of 58°. Results from this preliminary study demonstrate that we can realize FV-SEE imaging with simple, monolithic, miniature optical element. The characteristics of this FV-SEE configuration will facilitate the development of robust miniature endoscopes for a variety of medical imaging applications.
Dukho Do, Dongkyun Kang, Mitsuhiro Ikuta, and Guillermo J. Tearney, "Simple, monolithic optical element for forward-viewing spectrally encoded endoscopy (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 9691, Endoscopic Microscopy XI; and Optical Techniques in Pulmonary Medicine III, 96910O (Presented at SPIE BiOS: February 15, 2016; Published: 27 April 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2213394.4828146983001.
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