DOI: 10.1364/oe.504854 ISSN: 1094-4087

Multipath artifacts enable angular contrast in multimodal endoscopic optical coherence tomography

A. Tanskanen, J. Malone, C. MacAulay, P. Lane
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics

Multipath artifacts are inherent to double-clad fiber based optical coherence tomography (OCT), appearing as ghost images blurred in the A-line direction. They result from the excitation of higher-order inner-cladding modes in the OCT sample arm which cross-couple into the fundamental mode at discontinuities and thus are detected in single-mode fiber-based interferometers. Historically, multipath artifacts have been regarded as a drawback in single fiber endoscopic multimodal OCT systems as they degrade OCT quality. In this work, we reveal that multipath artifacts can be projected into high-quality two-dimensional en face images which encode high angle backscattering features. Using a combination of experiment and simulation, we characterize the coupling of Mie-range scatterers into the fundamental image (LP01 mode) and higher-order image (multipath artifact). This is validated experimentally through imaging of microspheres with an endoscopic multimodal OCT system. The angular dependence of the fundamental image and higher order image generated by the multipath artifact lays the basis for multipath contrast, a ratiometric measurement of differential coupling which provides information regarding the angular diversity of a sample. Multipath contrast images can be generated from OCT data where multipath artifacts are present, meaning that a wealth of clinical data can be retrospectively examined.

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