Visualizing stiffness within the local tissue environment at the cellular and sub-cellular level promises to provide insight
into the genesis and progression of disease. In this paper, we propose ultrahigh-resolution optical coherence
elastography, and demonstrate three-dimensional imaging of local axial strain of tissues undergoing compressive
loading. The technique employs a dual-arm extended focus optical coherence microscope to measure tissue displacement
under compression. The system uses a broad bandwidth supercontinuum source for ultrahigh axial resolution, Bessel
beam illumination and Gaussian beam detection, maintaining sub-2 μm transverse resolution over nearly 100 μm depth
of field, and spectral-domain detection allowing high displacement sensitivity. The system produces strain elastograms
with a record resolution (x,y,z) of 2×2×15 μm. We benchmark the advances in terms of resolution and strain sensitivity
by imaging a suitable inclusion phantom. We also demonstrate this performance on freshly excised mouse aorta and
reveal the mechanical heterogeneity of vascular smooth muscle cells and elastin sheets, otherwise unresolved in a
typical, lower resolution optical coherence elastography system.
Andrea Curatolo, Martin Villiger, Dirk Lorenser, Philip Wijesinghe, Alexander Fritz, Brendan F. Kennedy, and David D. Sampson, "Ultrahigh resolution optical coherence elastography using a Bessel beam for extended depth of field," Proc. SPIE 9697, Optical Coherence Tomography and Coherence Domain Optical Methods in Biomedicine XX, 96971Q (Presented at SPIE BiOS: February 17, 2016; Published: 8 March 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2214684.
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