optical coherence tomography, biomedical optical imaging, low-coherence interferometry, medical optics instrumentation, statistical optics


Optical coherence imaging, including tomography (OCT) and microscopy (OCM), has been a growing research field in biomedical optical imaging in the last decade. In this imaging modality, a broadband light source, thus of short temporal coherence length, is used to perform imaging via interferometry. A challenge in optical coherence imaging, as in any imaging system towards biomedical diagnosis, is the quantification of image quality and optimization of the system components, both a primary focus of this research. We concentrated our efforts on the optimization of the imaging system from two main standpoints: axial point spread function (PSF) and practical steps towards compact low-cost solutions. Up to recently, the criteria for the quality of a system was based on speed of imaging, sensitivity, and particularly axial resolution estimated solely from the full-width at half-maximum (FWHM) of the axial PSF with the common practice of assuming a Gaussian source power spectrum. As part of our work to quantify axial resolution we first brought forth two more metrics unlike FWHM, which accounted for side lobes in the axial PSF caused by irregularities in the shape of the source power spectrum, such as spectral dips. Subsequently, we presented a method where the axial PSF was significantly optimized by suppressing the side lobes occurring because of the irregular shape of the source power spectrum. The optimization was performed through optically shaping the source power spectrum via a programmable spectral shaper, which consequentially led to suppression of spurious structures in the images of a layered specimen. The superiority of the demonstrated approach was in performing reshaping before imaging, thus eliminating the need for post-data acquisition digital signal processing. Importantly, towards the optimization and objective image quality assessment in optical coherence imaging, the impact of source spectral shaping was further analyzed in a task-based assessment method based on statistical decision theory. Two classification tasks, a signal-detection task and a resolution task, were investigated. Results showed that reshaping the source power spectrum was a benefit essentially to the resolution task, as opposed to both the detection and resolution tasks, and the importance of the specimen local variations in index of refraction on the resolution task was demonstrated. Finally, towards the optimization of OCT and OCM for use in clinical settings, we analyzed the detection electronics stage, which is a crucial component of the system that is designed to capture extremely weak interferometric signals in biomedical and biological imaging applications. We designed and tested detection electronics to achieve a compact and low-cost solution for portable imaging units and demonstrated that the design provided an equivalent performance to the commercial lock-in amplifier considering the system sensitivity obtained with both detection schemes.


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Graduation Date





Rolland, Jannick


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Optics and Photonics

Degree Program









Release Date

August 2005

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)