Abstract

We report an approach to achieving continuous focus tracking and a depth-independent transverse resolution for real-time optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging. Continuous real-time focus tracking is permitted by use of a lateral-priority image acquisition sequence in which the depth-scanning rate is equivalent to the imaging frame rate. Real-time OCT imaging with continuous focus tracking is performed at 1  frames by reciprocal translation of a rapid lateral-scanning miniature imaging probe (e.g., an endoscope). The optical path length in the reference arm is scanned synchronously to ensure that the coherence gate coincides with the imaging beam focus. The image quality improvement is experimentally demonstrated by imaging a tissue phantom embedded with polystyrene microspheres and rabbit esophageal tissues.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

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