We report studies of the analyses of and compensation for group dispersion to improve the axial resolution of high-speed optical coherence tomography (OCT) by acousto-optic modulation (AOM). Theoretical modeling and experiments reveal that the high-order group dispersion induced by acousto-optic crystals broadens the measured coherence length (Lc) and thus degrades the axial resolution of OCT imaging. Based on our experimental studies, we can compensate for the dispersion to less than 50% broadening of the source Lc by adjusting the grating-lens-based optical delay in the reference arm and can further eliminate it by inserting like acousto-optic crystals in the sample arm of the OCT system. The results demonstrate that this AOM-mediated OCT system permits high-performance OCT imaging at A-scan rates of as much as 4 kHz by use of a resonant scanner. Because of its ultrastable direct frequency modulation, this AOM-mediated OCT system can potentially improve the performance of high-speed Doppler OCT techniques.
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