Abstract

We derive the time-variant second-order statistics of the depth-scan photocurrent in time-domain optical coherence tomography (TD-OCT) systems using polarized thermal light sources and superluminescent diodes (SLDs). Since the asymptotic-joint-probability-distribution function (JPDF) of the photocurrent due to polarized thermal light is Gaussian and the signal-noise-ratio in TD-OCT is typically high (>80dB), the JPDF of the depth-scan photocurrent could be approximated as a Gaussian random process that is completely determined by its second-order statistics. We analyze both direct and differential light detection schemes and include the effect of electronic thermal fluctuations. Our results are a necessary prerequisite for future development of statistical image processing techniques for TD-OCT.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

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