Polarization-Sensitive Optical Coherence Tomography (PS-OCT) has been used to measure birefringence of biological samples, namely the retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL). The presence of blood vessels in biological samples complicates accurate measurement of tissue birefringence as a result of the Doppler shift in fringe frequency and the shadowing effect below blood vessels due to absorption and scattering of light photons by blood. We investigate phase retardation measurement with controlled capillary blood flow overlying a birefringent sample with enhanced polarization-sensitivity optical coherence tomography (EPS-OCT). The effect of blood flow on the calculation of phase retardation and tissue birefringence was studied in the polarization domain. Light propagating through an overlying moving turbid medium (blood) undergoes single or multiple forward scattering events and a Doppler shift in presence of flow. Light propagating through an overlying medium may introduce Doppler shifts of each polarization component and/or polarization shifts or retardation of light. While undergoing multiple forward scattering, each scattering event can modify the frequency or light phase delay. In successive scattering events, potential Doppler shifts and/or polarization shifts accumulate. Light propagating within the birefringent sample undergoes multiple forward scattering events leading to phase retardation between polarization components. This paper investigates phase retardation measurement underlying physiological blood flow rates (6, 12, 18, and 24μl/min) at a range of light incident angle (0-20 deg.) on the sample. With EPS-OCT, the effect of light scattering and differential Doppler shifts between the polarization modes on the measurement of phase retardation was within our speckle noise range.
Phase retardation per unit depth (PR/UD) is a physiologically significant parameter which correlates with the orderly arrangement of neurons and neurofibrils within the retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) and can vary in glaucoma. The objective of this study is to use Polarization Sensitive Optical Coherence Tomography (PSOCT), to detect both RNFL thickness and depth-resolved birefringence and produce thickness and PR/UD maps of the primate RNFL. RNFL
thickness is obtained from the PSOCT intensity image with boundary detection using imaging processing methods. Analysis of PR/UD begins with calculating the Stokes parameters from the horizontal magnitude, vertical magnitude and relative phase difference in the interference fringes of light back scattered from the retina. Computed Stokes parameters are used to determine the fast axis in the RNFL and local phase retardation. PR/UD is calculated by dividing local birefringence by the corresponding RNFL thickness. A three-dimensional map of PR/UD and RNFL thickness is constructed by combining registered B-scans. Three-dimensional maps of thickness and PR/UD from the primate RNFL show that PSOCT is can be used for detecting thickness and PR/UD of the peripapillary RNFL and a very effective modality to diagnose glaucoma.
We describe a Polarization Sensitive Optical Coherence Tomography (PS-OCT) system with de-correlated horizontal and vertical channels. Construction of PS-OCT depth-resolved images is achieved with a scanning bulk Michelson interferometer and a broadband TiAl2O3 femtosecond laser source. We de-correlate and delay horizontal and vertical channels using a birefringent crystal in the source path and calcite prism pairs in the sample and reference paths. Cross-correlation and phase changes between horizontal and vertical channels are measured at different reference-sample optical delays in correlated and de-correlated PS-OCT. PS-OCT with de-correlated (DPS-OCT) channels can broaden applications to include de-correlated Doppler imaging of blood flow and imaging the retinal nerve fiber layer with delayed channels. We achieve a differential delay of 0-400 microns between vertical and horizontal channels by translating the calcite prisms. DPS-OCT system design and experimental measurements are presented and discussed.