Coherence-domain imaging systems can be operated in a single-photon-counting mode, offering low detector noise; this in turn leads to increased sensitivity for weak light sources and weakly reflecting samples. We have demonstrated that excellent axial resolution can be obtained in a photon-counting coherence-domain imaging (CDI) system that uses light generated via spontaneous parametric downconversion (SPDC) in a chirped periodically poled stoichiometric lithium tantalate (chirped-PPSLT) structure, in conjunction with a niobium nitride superconducting single-photon detector (SSPD). The bandwidth of the light generated via SPDC, as well as the bandwidth over which the SSPD is sensitive, can extend over a wavelength region that stretches from 700 to . This ultrabroad wavelength band offers a near-ideal combination of deep penetration and ultrahigh axial resolution for the imaging of biological tissue. The generation of SPDC light of adjustable bandwidth in the vicinity of , via the use of chirped-PPSLT structures, had not been previously achieved. To demonstrate the usefulness of this technique, we construct images for a hierarchy of samples of increasing complexity: a mirror, a nitrocellulose membrane, and a biological sample comprising onion-skin cells.
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