Diagnostic imaging, Optical coherence tomography


Microvasculature can be found in almost every part of the human body, including the internal organs. Importantly, abnormal changes in microvasculature are usually related to pathological development of the tissue cells. Monitoring of changes in blood flow properties in microvasculature, therefore, provides useful diagnostic information about pathological conditions in biological tissues as exemplified in glaucoma, diabetes, age related macular degeneration, port wine stains, burn-depth, and potentially skin cancer. However, the capillary network is typically only one cell in wall thickness with 5 to 10 microns in diameter and located in the dermis region of skin. Therefore, a non-invasive flow imaging technique that is capable of depth sectioning at high resolution and high speed is demanded. Optical coherence tomography (OCT), particularly after its advancement in frequency domain OCT (FD-OCT), is a promising tool for non-invasive high speed, high resolution, and high sensitivity depth-resolved imaging of biological tissues. Over the last ten years, numerous efforts have been paid to develop OCTbased flow imaging techniques. An important effort is the development of phase-resolved Doppler OCT (PR-DOCT). Phase-resolved Doppler imaging using FD-OCT is particularly of interest because of the direct access to the phase information of the depth profile signal. Furthermore, the high speed capability of FD-OCT is promising for real time flow monitoring as well as 3D flow segmentation applications. However, several challenges need to be addressed; 1) Flow in biological samples exhibits a wide dynamic range of flow velocity caused by, for example, the iv variation in the flow angles, flow diameters, and functionalities. However, the improvement in imaging speed of FD-OCT comes at the expense of a reduction in sensitivity to slow flow information and hence a reduction in detectable velocity range; 2) A structural ambiguity socalled 'mirror image' in FD-OCT prohibits the use of maximum sensitivity and imaging depth range; 3) The requirement of high lateral resolution to resolve capillary vessels requires the use of an imaging optics with high numerical aperture (NA) that leads to a reduction in depth of focus (DOF) and hence the imaging depth range (i.e. less than 100 microns) unless dynamic focusing is performed. Nevertheless, intrinsic to the mechanism of FD-OCT, dynamic focusing is not possible. In this dissertation, the implementation of PR-DOCT in a high speed swept-source based FD-OCT is investigated and optimized. An acquisition scheme as well as a processing algorithm that effectively extends the detectable velocity dynamic range of the PR-DOCT is presented. The proposed technique increased the overall detectable velocity dynamic range of PR-DOCT by about five times of that achieved by the conventional method. Furthermore, a novel technique of mirror image removal called ‘Dual-Detection FD-OCT’ (DD-FD-OCT) is presented. One of the advantages of DD-FD-OCT to Doppler imaging is that the full-range signal is achieved without manipulation of the phase relation between consecutive axial lines. Hence the full-range DD-FDOCT is fully applicable to phase-resolved Doppler detection without a reduction in detectable velocity dynamic range as normally encountered in other full-range techniques. In addition, PRDOCT can utilize the maximum SNR provided by the full-range capability. This capability is particularly useful for imaging of blood flow that locates deep below the sample surface, such as v blood flow at deep posterior human eye and blood vessels network in the dermis region of human skin. Beside high speed and functional imaging capability, another key parameter that will open path for optical diagnostics using OCT technology is high resolution imaging (i.e. in a regime of a few microns or sub-micron). Even though the lateral resolution of OCT can be independently improved by opening the NA of the imaging optics, the high lateral resolution is maintained only over a short range as limited by the depth of focus that varies inversely and quadratically with NA. Recently developed by our group, ‘Gabor-Domain Optical Coherence Microscopy’ (GD-OCM) is a novel imaging technique capable for invariant resolution of about 2-3 m over a 2 mm cubic field-of-view. This dissertation details the imaging protocol as well as the automatic data fusion method of GD-OCM developed to render an in-focus high-resolution image throughout the imaging depth of the sample in real time. For the application of absolute flow measurement as an example, the precise information about flow angle is required. GDOCM provides more precise interpretation of the tissue structures over a large field-of-view, which is necessary for accurate mapping of the flow structure and hence is promising for diagnostic applications particularly when combined with Doppler imaging. Potentially, the ability to perform high resolution OCT imaging inside the human body is useful for many diagnostic applications, such as providing an accurate map for biopsy, guiding surgical and other treatments, monitoring the functional state and/or the post-operative recovery process of internal organs, plaque detection in arteries, and early detection of cancers in the gastrointestinal tract. Endoscopic OCT utilizes a special miniature probe in the sample arm to vi access tubular organs inside the human body, such as the cardiovascular system, the lung, the gastrointestinal tract, the urinary tract, and the breast duct. We present an optical design of a dynamic focus endoscopic probe that is capable of about 4 to 6 m lateral resolution over a large working distance (i.e. up to 5 mm from the distal end of the probe). The dynamic focus capability allows integration of the endoscopic probe to GD-OCM imaging to achieve high resolution endoscopic tomograms. We envision the future of this developing technology as a solution to high resolution, minimally invasive, depth-resolved imaging of not only structure but also the microvasculature of in vivo biological tissues that will be useful for many clinical applications, such as dermatology, ophthalmology, endoscopy, and cardiology. The technology is also useful for animal study applications, such as the monitoring of an embryo’s heart for the development of animal models and monitoring of changes in blood circulation in response to external stimulus in small animal brains.


If this is your thesis or dissertation, and want to learn how to access it or for more information about readership statistics, contact us at

Graduation Date





Rolland, Jannick P.


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Optics and Photonics








Release Date

December 2010

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Optics and Photonics, Optics and Photonics -- Dissertations, Academic