Novel endoscope with increased depth of field for imaging human nasal tissue by microscopic optical coherence tomography

Hinnerk Schulz-Hildebrandt, Mario Pieper, Charlotte Stehmar, Martin Ahrens, Christian Idel, Barbara Wollenberg, Peter König, Gereon Hüttmann


Intravital microscopy (IVM) offers the opportunity to visualize static and dynamic changes of tissue on a cellular level. It is a valuable tool in research and may considerably improve clinical diagnosis. In contrast to confocal and non-linear microscopy, optical coherence tomography (OCT) with microscopic resolution (mOCT) provides intrinsically cross-sectional imaging. Changing focus position is not needed, which simplifies especially endoscopic imaging. For in-vivo imaging, here we are presenting endo-microscopic OCT (emOCT). A graded-index-lens (GRIN) based 2.75 mm outer diameter rigid endoscope is providing 1.5 – 2 µm nearly isotropic resolution over an extended field of depth. Spherical and chromatic aberrations are used to elongate the focus length. Simulation of the OCT image formation, suggests a better overall image quality in this range compared to a focused Gaussian beam. Total imaging depth at a reduced sensitivity and lateral resolution is more than 200 µm. Using a frame rate of 80 Hz cross-sectional images of concha nasalis were demonstrated in humans, which could resolve cilial motion, cellular structures of the epithelium, vessels and blood cells. Mucus transport velocity was successfully determined. The endoscope may be used for diagnosis and treatment control of different lung diseases like cystic fibrosis or primary ciliary dyskinesia, which manifest already at the nasal mucosa.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBiomedical Optics Express
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)636-647
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 16.01.2018

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Biomedical Engineering


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