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Opt Express. 2009 Sep 14;17(19):16957-68. doi: 10.1364/OE.17.016957.

Performance of reduced bit-depth acquisition for optical frequency domain imaging.

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Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, 50 Blossom St., Boston, MA 02114, USA.


High-speed optical frequency domain imaging (OFDI) has enabled practical wide-field microscopic imaging in the biological laboratory and clinical medicine. The imaging speed of OFDI, and therefore the field of view, of current systems is limited by the rate at which data can be digitized and archived rather than the system sensitivity or laser performance. One solution to this bottleneck is to natively digitize OFDI signals at reduced bit depths, e.g., at 8-bit depth rather than the conventional 12-14 bit depth, thereby reducing overall bandwidth. However, the implications of reduced bit-depth acquisition on image quality have not been studied. In this paper, we use simulations and empirical studies to evaluate the effects of reduced depth acquisition on OFDI image quality. We show that image acquisition at 8-bit depth allows high system sensitivity with only a minimal drop in the signal-to-noise ratio compared to higher bit-depth systems. Images of a human coronary artery acquired in vivo at 8-bit depth are presented and compared with images at higher bit-depth acquisition.

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