Abstract

The optical aberrations induced by imaging through skin can be predicted using formulas for Seidel aberrations of a plane-parallel plate. Knowledge of these aberrations helps to guide the choice of numerical aperture (NA) of the optics we can use in an implementation of Gabor domain optical coherence microscopy (GD-OCM), where the focus is the only aberration adjustment made through depth. On this basis, a custom-designed, liquid-lens enabled dynamic focusing optical coherence microscope operating at 0.2 NA is analyzed and validated experimentally. As part of the analysis, we show that the full width at half-maximum metric, as a characteristic descriptor for the point spread function, while commonly used, is not a useful metric for quantifying resolution in non-diffraction-limited systems. Modulation transfer function (MTF) measurements quantify that the liquid lens performance is as predicted by design, even when accounting for the effect of gravity. MTF measurements in a skinlike scattering medium also quantify the performance of the microscope in its potential applications. To guide the fusion of images across the various focus positions of the microscope, as required in GD-OCM, we present depth of focus measurements that can be used to determine the effective number of focusing zones required for a given goal resolution. Subcellular resolution in an onion sample, and high-definition in vivo imaging in human skin are demonstrated with the custom-designed and built microscope.

© 2010 Optical Society of America

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