Flexible A-scan rate MHz-OCT: Efficient computational downscaling by coherent averaging

Tom Pfeiffer, Madita Göb, Wolfgang Draxinger, Sebastian Karpf, Jan Philip Kolb, Robert Huber*

*Corresponding author for this work


In order to realize adjustable A-scan rates of fast optical coherence tomography (OCT) systems, we investigate averaging of OCT image data acquired with a MHz-OCT system based on a Fourier Domain Mode Locked (FDML) laser. Increased system sensitivity and image quality can be achieved with the same system at the cost of lower imaging speed. Effectively, the A-scan rate can be reduced in software by a freely selectable factor. We demonstrate a detailed technical layout of the strategies necessary to achieve efficient coherent averaging. Since there are many new challenges specific to coherent averaging in swept source MHz-OCT, we analyze them point by point and describe the appropriate solutions. We prove that coherent averaging is possible at MHz OCT-speed without special interferometer designs or digital phase stabilization. We find, that in our system up to ∼100x coherent averaging is possible while achieving a sensitivity increase close to the ideal values. This corresponds to a speed reduction from 3.3 MHz to 33 kHz and a sensitivity gain of 20 dB. We show an imaging comparison between coherent and magnitude averaging of a human finger knuckle joint in vivo with 121 dB sensitivity for the coherent case. Further, the benefits of computational downscaling in low sensitivity MHz-OCT systems are analyzed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBiomedical Optics Express
Issue number11
Pages (from-to)6799-6811
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 01.11.2020

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Biomedical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Flexible A-scan rate MHz-OCT: Efficient computational downscaling by coherent averaging'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this