We demonstrate in vivo endoscopic optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging in the forward direction using a flexible fiber bundle (FB). In comparison to current conventional forward-looking probe schemes, our approach simplifies the endoscope design by avoiding the integration of any beam steering components in the distal probe end due to two-dimensional scanning of a focused light beam over the proximal FB surface. We describe the challenges that arise when OCT imaging with an FB is performed, such as multimoding or cross coupling. The performance of different FBs varying in parameters, such as numerical aperture, core size, core structure, and flexibility, was consequently compared, and image quality degrading artifacts were described in detail. Based on our findings, we propose an optimal FB design for endoscopic OCT imaging.
In this work we investigate the benefits of using optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA) in combination with adaptive optics (AO) technology. It has been demonstrated that the contrast of vessels and small capillaries can be greatly enhanced by the use of OCTA. Moreover, small capillaries that are below the transverse resolution of the ophthalmic instrument can be detected. This opens unique opportunities for diagnosing retinal diseases. However, there are some limitations of this technology such as shadowing artifacts caused by overlying vasculature or the inability to determine the true extension of a vessel. Thus, the evaluation of the vascular structure and density can be misleading. To overcome these limitations we applied the OCT angiography technique to images recorded with AO-OCT. Due to the higher collection efficiency of AO-OCT in comparison with standard OCT an increased intensity contrast of vasculature can be seen. Using AO-OCTA the contrast of the vasculature to the surrounding static tissue is further increased. The improved transverse resolution and the reduced depth of focus of the AO-OCT greatly reduce shadowing artifacts allowing for a correct differentiation and segmentation of different vascular layers of the inner retina. The method is investigated in healthy volunteers and in patients with diabetic retinopathy.
We present retinal photoreceptor imaging with a line-field parallel spectral domain OCT modality, utilizing a commercially available 2D CMOS detector array operating at and imaging speed of 500 B-scans/s. Our results demonstrate for the first time in vivo structural and functional retinal assessment with a line-field OCT setup providing sufficient sensitivity, lateral and axial resolution and 3D acquisition rates in order to resolve individual photoreceptor cells. The phase stability of the system is manifested by the high phase-correlation across the lateral FOV on the level of individual photoreceptors. The setup comprises a Michelson interferometer illuminated by a broadband light source, where a line-focus is formed via a cylindrical lens and the back-propagated light from sample and reference arm is detected by a 2D array after passing a diffraction grating. The spot size of the line-focus on the retina is 5μm, which corresponds to a PSF of 50μm and an oversampling factor of 3.6 at the detector plane, respectively. A full 3D stack was recorded in only 0.8 s. We show representative enface images, tomograms and phase-difference maps of cone photoreceptors with a lateral FOV close to 2°. The high-speed capability and the phase stability due to parallel illumination and detection may potentially lead to novel structural and functional diagnostic tools on a cellular and microvascular imaging level. Furthermore, the presented system enables competitive imaging results as compared to respective point scanning modalities and facilitates utilizing software based digital aberration correction algorithms for achieving 3D isotropic resolution across the full FOV.
MHz OCT allows mitigating undesired influence of motion artifacts during retinal assessment, but comes in state-of-the-art point scanning OCT at the price of increased system complexity. By changing the paradigm from scanning to parallel OCT for in vivo retinal imaging the three-dimensional (3D) acquisition time is reduced without a trade-off between speed, sensitivity and technological requirements. Furthermore, the intrinsic phase stability allows for applying digital refocusing methods increasing the in-focus imaging depth range. Line field parallel interferometric imaging (LPSI) is utilizing a commercially available swept source, a single-axis galvo-scanner and a line scan camera for recording 3D data with up to 1MHz A-scan rate. Besides line-focus illumination and parallel detection, we mitigate the necessity for high-speed sensor and laser technology by holographic full-range imaging, which allows for increasing the imaging speed by low sampling of the optical spectrum. High B-scan rates up to 1kHz further allow for implementation of lable-free optical angiography in 3D by calculating the inter B-scan speckle variance. We achieve a detection sensitivity of 93.5 (96.5) dB at an equivalent A-scan rate of 1 (0.6) MHz and present 3D in vivo retinal structural and functional imaging utilizing digital refocusing. Our results demonstrate for the first time competitive imaging sensitivity, resolution and speed with a parallel OCT modality. LPSI is in fact currently the fastest OCT device applied to retinal imaging and operating at a central wavelength window around 800 nm with a detection sensitivity of higher than 93.5 dB.
In the last 25 years, optical coherence tomography (OCT) has advanced to be one of the most innovative and most successful translational optical imaging techniques, achieving substantial economic impact as well as clinical acceptance. This is largely owing to the resolution improvements by a factor of 10 to the submicron regime and to the imaging speed increase by more than half a million times to more than 5 million A-scans per second, with the latter one accomplished by the state-of-the-art swept source laser technologies that are reviewed in this article. In addition, parallelization of OCT detection, such as line-field and full-field OCT, has shortened the acquisition time even further by establishing quasi-akinetic scanning. Besides the technical improvements, several functional and contrast-enhancing OCT applications have been investigated, among which the label-free angiography shows great potential for future studies. Finally, various multimodal imaging modalities with OCT incorporated are reviewed, in that these multimodal implementations can synergistically compensate for the fundamental limitations of OCT when it is used alone.
OCT is a promising tool for performing fast and cheap noninvasive biopsies. High speed imaging helps to reduce motion artifacts that cause decreased sensitivity and resolution. Using a point scanning configuration one is ultimately limited in sensitivity. Therefore parallel configurations are a potentially attractive solution to further enhance the speed capabilities of future OCT systems. Even more, if full field configurations are employed one can exploit the intrinsic phase correlation over the field of view for digital wavefront correction techniques. Full field OCT has nevertheless limitations concerning the missing confocal gating. The sensitivity is decreased in the presence of specular reflexes from optical interfaces, furthermore light scattering cross talk between pixel causes additional signal degradation. A good compromise between parallel detection capabilities and confocal gating seems therefore line field OCT. We built a bench top line field system employing a frequency swept source enabling 2D/3D imaging at up to 200 kA-scans/s with an axial resolution of 8μm and a depth range of 3.53mm in air. To prevent specular reflexes reaching the line scan camera, an off axis configuration of the optical path together with spatial filters placed in conjugate planes of the system was used. Geometrical optics based digital refocusing through the full depth range was shown on a sample target containing FeO particles, on a biological sample and in vivo. Furthermore, we assessed the regime where line field has an advantage over point scanning OCT in terms of sensitivity.