Second-harmonic optical coherence tomography, which uses coherence gating of second-order nonlinear optical responses of biological tissues for imaging, is described and demonstrated. Femtosecond laser pulses were used to excite second-harmonic waves from collagen harvested from rat tail tendon and a reference nonlinear crystal. Second-harmonic interference fringe signals were detected and used for image construction. Because of the strong dependence of second-harmonic generation on molecular and tissue structures, this technique imparts contrast and resolution enhancement to conventional optical coherence tomography.
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