Abstract

We present theoretical analysis and experimental verification of the signal to noise ratio (SNR) of a common-path interferometer-based optical coherence tomography (OCT) system. Based on fully integrated all-fiber implementation of a common-path time-domain OCT system, we derived the SNR of the system including the effect of beat noise, which turns out to be twice as large as the excess noise term. We verified the theoretical SNR through a series of experiments, utilizing both controlled phantom and biological samples such as a rat brain with tumor and a frog retina. The results showed that the source power and the reference reflectivity can be easily controlled to optimize the SNR of OCT imaging. We have also analyzed the effect of the fiber delays and the offset in the fiber autocorrelator of the common-path OCT system on the overall SNR.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

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