We report a method for extracting the birefringence properties of biological samples with micrometer-scale resolution in three dimensions, using a new form of polarization-sensitive optical coherence tomography. The method measures net retardance, net fast axis, and total reflectivity as a function of depth into the sample. Polarization sensing is accomplished by illumination of the sample with at least three separate polarization states during consecutive acquisitions of the same pixel, A scan, or B scan. The method can be implemented by use of non-polarization-maintaining fiber and a single detector. In a calibration test of the system, net retardance was measured with an average error of 7.5° (standard deviation 2.2°) over the retardance range 0° to 180°, and a fast axis with average error of 4.8° over the range 0° to 180°.

© 2001 Optical Society of America

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Chen, Z.

Colston, B. W.

Da Silva, L. B.

De Boer, J.

de Boer, J. F.

Everett, M. J.

Fujimoto, J. G.

Hee, M. R.

Huang, D.

Izatt, J. A.

Kulkarni, M. D.

Maitland, D. J.

Malekafzali, A.

Milner, T. E.

Nelson, J. S.

Park, B. H.

Rollins, A. M.

Saxer, C. E.

Schoenenberger, K.

Srinivas, S.

Swanson, E. A.

Ung-Arunyawee, R.

van Gemert, M. J. C.

Zhao, Y.

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