We developed a spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) system employing dual-balanced detection (DBD) for direct current term suppression and SNR enhancement, especially for auto-autocorrelation artifacts reduction. The DBD was achieved by using a beam splitter to building a free-space Michelson interferometer, which generated two interferometric spectra with a phase difference of π. These two phase-opposed spectra were guided to the spectrometer through two single mode fibers of the 8 fiber v-groove array and acquired by ultizing the upper two lines of a three-line CCD camera. We rotated this fiber v-groove array by 1.35 degrees to focus two spectra onto the first and second line of the CCD camera. Two spectra were aligned by optimum spectrum matching algorithm. By subtracting one spectrum from the other, this dual-balanced detection system achieved a direct current term suppression of ~30 dB, SNR enhancement of ~3 dB, and auto-autocorrelation artifacts reduction of ~10 dB experimentally. Finally we respectively validated the feasibility and performance of dual-balanced detection by imaging a glass plate and swine corneal tissue ex vivo. The quality of images obtained using dual-balanced detection was significantly improved with regard to the conventional single-detection (SD) images.
We developed a spectral domain OCT system combining two NIR, CW light sources of different spectral range. Its resolving power is validated by visualizing the cellular structures of zebra fish larvae in vivo. An NIR extended illumination from 755-1100 nm is achieved. The axial resolution is 1.27 μm in air, corresponding to 0.93μm in tissue (n=1.36), which is the highest axial resolution using NIR, CW laser sources up to date to the best of our knowledge. In vivo imaging is conducted to demonstrate the resolving power of proposed one-micron resolution OCT system. The top and bottom surfaces of individual disk-like red blood cell is reliably visualized, as well as flat, spindle shaped endothelial cells lining along the luminal surface of the blood vessel wall. This study provides a viable solution for cellular and subcellular level OCT imaging system which is also very competitive in cost.