Researchers have developed an enhanced version of optical coherence tomography (OCT scan) that can image biomedical samples at higher contrast and resolution over a wider 3D field of view than was previously possible. The new 3D microscope could be useful for biomedical research and eventually enable more accurate medical diagnostic imaging.
The researchers describe the new technique, which they call 3D optical coherence refraction tomography (3D OCRT). Using various biological samples, they show that 3D OCRT produces highly detailed images that reveal features difficult to observe with traditional OCT.
OCT is a volumetric imaging technique widely used in ophthalmology and other branches of medicine. It can also be used to image many other parts of the body such as the skin and inside the ears, mouth, arteries, and gastrointestinal tract.
The researchers developed a new and exciting extension, featuring novel hardware combined with a new computational 3D image reconstruction algorithm to address some well-known limitations of the imaging technique.
The researchers envision the new OCT scan approach being applied in a wide variety of biomedical imaging applications, such as in vivo diagnostic imaging of the human eye or skin. The hardware they designed to perform the technique can also be readily miniaturized into small probes or endoscopes to access the gastrointestinal tract and other parts of the body.