Speckle contrast based optical coherence angiography (OCA) and optical coherence Doppler tomography (ODT) have been applied to image cerebral blood flow previously. However, the contrast mechanisms of these two methods are not fully studied. Here, we present both flow phantom and in vivo animal experiments using ultrahigh-resolution OCA (μOCA) and ODT (μODT) to investigate the flow sensitivity differences between these two methods. Our results show that the high sensitivity of μOCA for visualizing minute vasculature (e.g., slow capillary beds) is due to the enhancement by random Brownian motion of scatterers (e.g., red and white blood cells) within the vessels; whereas, μODT permits detection of directional flow below the Brownian motion regime (e.g., laser-induced microischemia) and is, therefore, more suitable for brain functional imaging.
© 2012 Optical Society of AmericaPDF Article