We report a new rapid-scanning optical delay device suitable for high-speed optical coherence tomography (OCT) in which an acousto-optic modulator (AOM) is used to independently modulate the Doppler frequency shift of the reference light beam for optical heterodyne detection. Experimental results show that the fluctuation of the measured Doppler frequency shift is less than ±0.2% over 95% duty cycle of OCT imaging, thus allowing for enhanced signal-to-noise ratio of optical heterodyne detection. The increased Doppler frequency shift by AOM also permits complete envelop demodulation without the compromise of reducing axial resolution; if used with a resonant rapid-scanning optical delay, it will permit high-performance real-time OCT imaging. Potentially, this new rapid-scanning optical delay device will improve the performance of high-speed Doppler OCT techniques.
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