OSA's Digital Library

Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: Michael Duncan
  • Vol. 13, Iss. 6 — Mar. 21, 2005
  • pp: 1860–1874

The effect of water dispersion and absorption on axial resolution in ultrahigh-resolution optical coherence tomography

Timothy R. Hillman and David D. Sampson  »View Author Affiliations

Optics Express, Vol. 13, Issue 6, pp. 1860-1874 (2005)

View Full Text Article

Enhanced HTML    Acrobat PDF (1614 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



We examine the effects of dispersion and absorption in ultrahigh-resolution optical coherence tomography (OCT), particularly the necessity to compensate for high dispersion orders in order to narrow the axial point-spread function envelope. We present a numerical expansion in which the impact of the various dispersion orders is quantified; absorption effects are evaluated numerically. Assuming a Gaussian source spectrum (in the optical frequency domain), we focus on imaging through water as a first approximation to biological materials. Both dispersion and absorption are found to be most significant for wavelengths above ~1µm, so that optimizing the system effective resolution (ER) requires choosing an operating wavelength below this limit. As an example, for 1-µm source resolution (FWHM), and propagation through a 1-mm water cell, if up to third-order dispersion compensation is applied, then the optimal center wavelength is 0.8µm, which generates an ER of 1.5µm (in air). The incorporation of additional bandwidth yields no ER improvement, due to uncompensated high-order dispersion and long-wavelength absorption.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(110.4500) Imaging systems : Optical coherence tomography
(170.3880) Medical optics and biotechnology : Medical and biological imaging
(170.4500) Medical optics and biotechnology : Optical coherence tomography
(260.2030) Physical optics : Dispersion
(300.1030) Spectroscopy : Absorption

ToC Category:
Research Papers

Original Manuscript: December 24, 2004
Revised Manuscript: February 23, 2005
Published: March 21, 2005

Timothy Hillman and David Sampson, "The effect of water dispersion and absorption on axial resolution in ultrahigh-resolution optical coherence tomography," Opt. Express 13, 1860-1874 (2005)

Sort:  Journal  |  Reset  


  1. D. Huang, E. A. Swanson, C. P. Lin, J. S. Schuman, W. G. Stinson, W. Chang, M. R. Hee, T. Flotte, K. Gregory, C. A. Puliafito, and J. G. Fujimoto, �??Optical coherence tomography,�?? Science 254, 1178�??1181 (1991). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  2. W. Drexler, U. Morgner, F. X. Kärtner, C. Pitris, S. A. Boppart, X. D. Li, E. P. Ippen, and J. G. Fujimoto, �??In vivo ultrahigh-resolution optical coherence tomography,�?? Opt. Lett. 24, 1221�??1223 (1999). [CrossRef]
  3. W. Drexler, �??Ultrahigh resolution optical coherence tomography,�?? J. Biomed. Opt. 9, 47�??74 (2004). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  4. D. D. Sampson, �??Trends and prospects for optical coherence tomography,�?? in 2nd EuropeanWorkshop on Optical Fiber Sensors, J. M. López-Higuera and B. Culshaw, eds., Proc. of SPIE 5502, (SPIE, Bellingham, WA, 2004), pp. 51-58.
  5. C.K. Hitzenberger, A. Baumgartner, and A. F. Fercher, �??Dispersion induced multiple signal peak splitting in partial coherence interferometry,�?? Opt. Commun. 154, 179�??185 (1998). [CrossRef]
  6. C. K. Hitzenberger, A. Baumgartner, W. Drexler, and A. F. Fercher, �??Dispersion effects in partial coherence interferometry: implications for intraocular ranging,�?? J. Biomed. Opt. 4, 144�??150 (1999). [CrossRef]
  7. M.Wojtkowski, V. J. Srinivasan, T. H. Ko, J. G. Fujimoto, A. Kowalczyk, and J. S. Duker, �??Ultrahigh-resolution, high-speed, Fourier domain optical coherence tomography and methods for dispersion compensation,�?? Opt. Express 12, 2404�??2422 (2004), <a href= "http://www.opticsexpress.org/abstract.cfm?URI=OPEX-12-11-2404.">http://www.opticsexpress.org/abstract.cfm?URI=OPEX-12-11-2404.</a> [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  8. E. D. J. Smith, A. V. Zvyagin, and D. D. Sampson, �??Real-time dispersion compensation in scanning interferometry,�?? Opt. Lett. 27, 1998�??2000 (2002). [CrossRef]
  9. A. V. Zvyagin, E. D. J. Smith, and D. D. Sampson, �??Delay and dispersion characteristics of a frequency-domain optical delay line for scanning interferometry,�?? J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 20, 333�??341 (2003). [CrossRef]
  10. W. K. Niblack, J. O. Schenk, B. Liu, and M. E. Brezinski, �??Dispersion in a grating-based optical delay line for optical coherence tomography,�?? Appl. Opt. 42, 4115�??4118 (2003). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  11. Y. Chen and X. Li, �??Dispersion management up to the third order for real-time optical coherence tomography involving a phase or frequency modulator,�?? Opt. Express 12, 5968�??5978 (2004), <a href= "http://www.opticsexpress.org/abstract.cfm?URI=OPEX-12-24-5968.">http://www.opticsexpress.org/abstract.cfm?URI=OPEX-12-24-5968.</a> [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  12. J. F. de Boer, C. E. Saxer, and J. S. Nelson �??Stable carrier generation and phase-resolved digital data processing in optical coherence tomography,�?? Appl. Opt. 40, 5787�??5790 (2001). [CrossRef]
  13. D. L. Marks, A. L. Oldenburg, J. J. Reynolds, and S. A. Boppart, �??Digital algorithm for dispersion correction in optical coherence tomography for homogeneous and stratified media,�?? Appl. Opt. 42, 204�??216 (2003). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  14. B. Liu, E. A. Macdonald, D. L. Stamper, and M. E. Brezinski, �??Group velocity dispersion effects with water and lipid in 1.3 µm optical coherence tomography system,�?? Phys. Med. Biol. 49, 923-930 (2004). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  15. D. D. Sampson and T. R. Hillman, �??Optical coherence tomography,�?? in Lasers And Current Optical Techniques In Biology, G. Palumbo and R. Pratesi, eds. (ESP Comprehensive Series in Photosciences, Cambridge, UK, 2004), pp. 481�??571.
  16. B. E. A. Saleh and M. C. Teich, Fundamentals of photonics (Wiley, New York, 1991). [CrossRef]
  17. Y. Wang, J. S. Nelson, Z. Chen, B. J. Reiser, R. S. Chuck, and R. S. Windeler, �??Optimal wavelength for ultrahigh-resolution optical coherence tomography,�?? Opt. Express 11, 1411�??1417 (2003), <a href= "http://www.opticsexpress.org/abstract.cfm?URI=OPEX-11-12-1411."> http://www.opticsexpress.org/abstract.cfm?URI=OPEX-11-12-1411.</a> [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  18. A. F. Fercher and C. K. Hitzenberger, �??Optical coherence tomography,�?? in Progress in Optics, E. Wolf, ed. (Elsevier Science B. V., Amsterdam, 2002), pp. 215�??302.
  19. D. Marcuse, �??Pulse distortion in single-mode fibers,�?? Appl. Opt. 19, 1653�??1660 (1980). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  20. D. J. Segelstein, �??The complex refractive index of water,�?? (University of Missouri-Kansas City, 1981), as reported at <a href= "http://atol.ucsd.edu/%7Epflatau/refrtab/water/Segelstein.H2Orefind."> http://atol.ucsd.edu/%7Epflatau/refrtab/water/Segelstein.H2Orefind.</a>
  21. A. G. Van Engen, S. A. Diddams, and T. S. Clement, �??Dispersion measurements of water with white-light interferometry,�?? Appl. Opt. 37, 5679�??5686 (1998). [CrossRef]
  22. A. H. Harvey, J. S. Gallagher, and J. M. H. Levelt Sengers, �??Revised formulation for the refractive index of water and steam as a function of wavelength, temperature and density,�?? J. Phys. Chem. Ref. Data 27, 761�??774 (1998). The formulation is available as IAPWS 5C: �??Release on refractive index of ordinary water substance as a function of wavelength, temperature and pressure,�?? (International Association for the Properties of Water and Steam (IAPWS), 1997), <a href= "http://www.iapws.org/relguide/rindex.pdf."> http://www.iapws.org/relguide/rindex.pdf.</a> [CrossRef]
  23. I.-J. Hsu, C.-W. Sun, C.-W. Lu, C. C. Yang, C.-P. Chiang, and C.-W. Lin, �??Resolution improvement with dispersion manipulation and a retrieval algorithm in optical coherence tomography,�?? Appl. Opt. 42, 227�??234 (2003). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  24. J. G. Fujimoto, �??Optical coherence tomography: Introduction,�?? in Handbook of Optical Coherence Tomography, B. E. Bouma and G. J. Tearney, eds. (Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York, 2002), pp. 1�??40.
  25. B. E. Bouma, L. E. Nelson, G. J. Tearney, D. J. Jones, M. E. Brezinski, and J. G. Fujimoto, �??Optical coherence tomographic imaging of human tissue at 1.55µm and 1.81µm using Er- and Tm-doped fiber sources,�?? J. Biomed. Opt. 3, 76�??79 (1998). [CrossRef]
  26. B. Považay, K. Bizheva, B. Hermann, A. Unterhuber, H. Sattmann, A. F. Fercher, W. Drexler, C. Schubert, P. K. Ahnelt, M. Mei, R. Holzwarth, W. J. Wadsworth, J. C. Knight, and P. St. J. Russel, �??Enhanced visualization of choroidal vessels using ultrahigh resolution ophthalmic OCT at 1050 nm,�?? Opt. Express 11, 1980�??1986 (2003), <a href= "http://www.opticsexpress.org/abstract.cfm?URI=OPEX-11-17-1980."> http://www.opticsexpress.org/abstract.cfm?URI=OPEX-11-17-1980</a> [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  27. A. F. Fercher, C. K. Hitzenberger, M. Sticker, R. Zawadzki, B. Karamata, and T. Lasser, �??Numerical dispersion compensation for partial coherence interferometry and optical coherence tomography,�?? Opt. Express 9, 610�??615 (2001), <a href= "http://www.opticsexpress.org/abstract.cfm?URI=OPEX-9-12-610."> http://www.opticsexpress.org/abstract.cfm?URI=OPEX-9-12-610. </a>

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited