Optical coherence tomography (OCT) images of biological tissues often have low contrast. Spectroscopic optical coherence tomography (SOCT) methods have been developed to enhance contrast but remain limited because most tissues are not spectrally active in the frequency bands of laser sources commonly used in OCT. Near-infrared (NIR) dyes with absorption spectra features within the OCT source spectrum can be used for enhancing contrast in this situation. We introduce and demonstrate the use of NIR dyes as contrast agents for SOCT. Contrast-enhanced images are compared with fluorescence microscopy, demonstrating a link between SOCT and fluorescence imaging.
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