We present a novel and cost-effective technique - interleaved optical coherence tomography (iOCT) - to enhance the imaging speed of swept source OCT systems by acquiring data from multiple lateral positions simultaneously during a single wavelength sweep, using a single detector and a virtually imaged phase array (VIPA) as a multi-band demultiplexer. This technique uses spectral encoding to convert coherence length into higher imaging speed; the speed enhancement factor is independent of the source speed or center wavelength, and the effective A-scan rate scales linearly with sweep speed. The optical configuration requires only a change in the sample arm of a traditional OCT system and preserves the axial resolution and fall-off characteristic of a traditional SS-OCT using the same light source. Using 10kHz, 20kHz and 100kHz sources we provide a first demonstration of image speed enhancement factors of up to 12, 6 and 10, respectively, which yield effective A-scan rates of 120kHz, 120kHz and 1MHz for B-scan imaging, with a sensitivity of up to 82.5 dB. We also show that iOCT can image faster dynamics than traditional OCT B-scan imaging and is capable of 3D biological imaging. The iOCT concept suggests a new route to high-speed OCT imaging for laser developers: that is, by focusing on improving the coherence length and linewidth of existing and emerging sources. Hence, iOCT is a nice complement to ongoing research and commercial efforts to enable faster imaging through development of lasers with faster sweep rates, and offers new hope for existing sources with slow sweep rates and potential for enhancement of coherence length to compete with faster sources to achieve high-speed OCT.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Biomedical Engineering