Multi-Scale Optical Coherence Tomography Imaging
An optical modality capable of quantitative, label-free, high-speed and high-resolution imaging across spatiotemporal scales coupled with sophisticated software for image reconstruction and quantitative analyses would be of great utility to scientists and engineers in the medical and life sciences fields. Currently, a combination of optical imaging techniques and software packages are needed to address the list of capabilities described previously. Optical coherence tomography is an optical imaging technique based on low coherence interferometry capable of measuring light backscattered from the sample at micrometer-level resolutions over millimeter-level penetration depths in biological tissue. Phase-sensitive extensions of OCT enable the functional assessment of biological tissue samples as well as the structural examination of samples down to the single-cell level. This dissertation describes the development and application of high-speed real-time multi-functional spectral-domain OCT (MF-SD-OCT) for structural and functional examination of biological samples across spatiotemporal scales. A discussion of the development of a GPU-accelerated high-speed MF-SD-OCT imaging system accompanied by demonstrations of the performance enhancements due to the GPU are presented initially. Next, the development of MF-SD-OCT-based quantitative methods for the structural and functional assessment and characterization and classification of biological tissue samples is discussed. The utility of these methods is demonstrated through structural, functional and optical characterization and classification of peripheral nerve and muscle tissue. The dissertation concludes with a discussion of the improvements made to spectral-domain optical coherence phase microscopy (SD-OCPM) to enable dynamic live cell imaging and the application of dynamic live cell SD-OCPM for morphological visualization of cheek epithelial cells and examination of functionally stimulated morphological changes in neurons. The work described in this dissertation demonstrates the versatility of OCT imaging technology to perform quantitative, label-free, high-speed and high-resolution imaging across spatiotemporal scales, enabling the examination of native dynamic tissue and cellular physiology.