Abstract

Phase-sensitive optical coherence tomography (PhOCT) offers exquisite sensitivity to mechanical vibration in biological tissues. There is growing interest in using PhOCT for imaging the nanometer scale vibrations of the ear in animal models of hearing disorders. Swept-source-based systems offer fast acquisition speeds, suppression of common mode noise via balanced detection, and good signal roll-off. However, achieving high phase stability is difficult due to nonlinear laser sweeps and trigger jitter in a typical swept laser source. Here, we report on the initial application of a Vernier-tuned distributed Bragg reflector (VT-DBR) swept laser as the source for a fiber-based PhOCT system. The VT-DBR swept laser is electronically tuned and precisely controls sweeps without mechanical movement, resulting in highly linear sweeps with high wavelength stability and repeatability. We experimentally measured a phase sensitivity of 0.4 pm standard deviation, within a factor of less than 2 of the computed shot-noise limit. We further demonstrated the system by making ex vivo measurements of the vibrations of the mouse middle ear structures.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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