Abstract

Coherence properties of light sources are indispensable for optical coherence microscopy/tomography as they greatly influence the signal-to-noise ratio, axial resolution, and penetration depth of the system. In the present paper, we report the investigation of longitudinal spatial coherence properties of a pseudothermal light source (PTS) as a function of the laser spot size at the rotating diffuser plate. The laser spot size is varied by translating a microscope objective lens toward or away from the diffuser plate. The longitudinal spatial coherence length, which governs the axial resolution of the coherence microscope, is found to be minimum for the beam spot size of 3.5 mm at the diffuser plate. The axial resolution of the system is found to be equal to an $\sim{13}\,\,{\rm \unicode{x00B5}{\rm m}}$ at 3.5 mm beam spot size. The change in the axial resolution of the system is confirmed by performing the experiments on standard gauge blocks of a height difference of 15 µm by varying the spot size at the diffuser plate. Thus, by appropriately choosing the beam spot size at the diffuser plane, any monochromatic laser light source can be utilized to obtain high axial resolution irrespective of the source’s temporal coherence length. It can provide speckle-free tomographic images of multilayered biological specimens with large penetration depth. In addition, a PTS avoids the use of any chromatic-aberration-corrected optics and dispersion-compensation mechanism unlike conventional setups.

© 2019 Optical Society of America

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