We present a fiber-optic low-coherence imaging technique, termed spectral-domain differential interference contrast microscopy (SD-DIC), for quantitative DIC imaging of both reflective surfaces and transparent biological specimens. SD-DIC combines the common-path nature of a Nomarski DIC interferometer with the high sensitivity of spectral-domain low-coherence interferometry to obtain high-resolution, quantitative measurements of optical pathlength gradients from a single point on the sample. Full-field imaging can be achieved by scanning the sample. A reflected-light SD-DIC system was demonstrated using a USAF resolution target as the phase object. Live cardiomyocytes were also imaged, achieving a resolution of for pathlength gradient measurements. The dynamics of cardiomyocyte contraction were recorded with high sensitivity at selected sites on the cells.
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