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Biomed Opt Express. 2012 Mar 1;3(3):633-49. doi: 10.1364/BOE.3.000633. Epub 2012 Feb 24.

Complex conjugate resolved heterodyne swept source optical coherence tomography using coherence revival.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA.


We describe a simple and low-cost technique for resolving the complex conjugate ambiguity in Fourier domain optical coherence tomography (OCT) that is applicable to many swept source OCT (SSOCT) systems. First, we review the principles of coherence revival, wherein an interferometer illuminated by an external cavity tunable laser (ECTL) exhibits interference fringes when the two arms of the interferometer are mismatched by an integer multiple of the laser cavity length. Second, we report observations that the spectral interferogram obtained from SSOCT systems employing certain ECTLs are automatically phase modulated when the arm lengths are mismatched this way. This phase modulation results in a frequency-shifted interferogram, effectively creating an extended-depth heterodyne SSOCT system without the use of acousto-optic or electro-optic modulators. We suggest that this phase modulation may be caused by the ECTL cavity optical pathlength varying slightly over the laser sweep, and support this hypothesis with numerical simulations. We also report on the successful implementation of this technique with two commercial swept source lasers operating at 840nm and 1040nm, with sweep rates of 8kHz and 100kHz respectively. The extended imaging depth afforded by this technique was demonstrated by measuring the sensitivity fall-off profiles of each laser with matched and mismatched interferometer arms. The feasibility of this technique for clinical systems is demonstrated by imaging the ocular anterior segments of healthy human volunteers.


(170.4500) Optical coherence tomography

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