We report on a novel scheme for extending the depth of focus (DOF) of ultrathin (125 μm diameter) fiber probes for optical coherence tomography (OCT) using a simple phase mask consisting of graded-index (GRIN) fiber. The technique is compatible with existing all-in-fiber probe fabrication techniques, and our simulations show that it can provide a DOF gain of at a modest reduction of peak sensitivity. In a prototype device using commercially available GRIN fiber, a DOF gain of 1.55 is obtained, validated by beam profiling and OCT imaging.
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