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1700 nm optical coherence microscopy enables minimally invasive, label-free, in vivo optical biopsy deep in the mouse brain


In vivo, minimally invasive microscopy in deep cortical and sub-cortical regions of the mouse brain has been challenging. To address this challenge, we present an in vivo high numerical aperture optical coherence microscopy (OCM) approach that fully utilizes the water absorption window around 1700 nm, where ballistic attenuation in the brain is minimized. Key issues, including detector noise, excess light source noise, chromatic dispersion, and the resolution-speckle tradeoff, are analyzed and optimized. Imaging through a thinned-skull preparation that preserves intracranial space, we present volumetric imaging of cytoarchitecture and myeloarchitecture across the entire depth of the mouse neocortex, and some sub-cortical regions. In an Alzheimer's disease model, we report that findings in superficial and deep cortical layers diverge, highlighting the importance of deep optical biopsy. Compared to other microscopic techniques, our 1700 nm OCM approach achieves a unique combination of intrinsic contrast, minimal invasiveness, and high resolution for deep brain imaging.

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