We present the first demonstration of shot-noise limited supercontinuum-based spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) with an axial resolution of 5.9 μm at a center wavelength of 1370 nm. Current supercontinuum-based SD-OCT systems cannot be operated in the shot-noise limited detection regime because of severe pulse-to-pulse relative intensity noise of the supercontinuum source. To overcome this disadvantage, we have developed a low-noise supercontinuum source based on an all-normal dispersion (ANDi) fiber, pumped by a femtosecond laser. The noise performance of our 90 MHz ANDi fiber-based supercontinuum source is compared to that of two commercial sources operating at 80 and 320 MHz repetition rate. We show that the low-noise of the ANDi fiber-based supercontinuum source improves the OCT images significantly in terms of both higher contrast, better sensitivity, and improved penetration. From SD-OCT imaging of skin, retina, and multilayer stacks we conclude that supercontinuum-based SD-OCT can enter the domain of shot-noise limited detection.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
OFS Denmark is acknowledged for providing the ANDi fiber. Dr. Álvaro Barroso, Medical Faculty University of Münster, Germany, is acknowledged for his technical inputs during the sample selection process of ex vivo mouse retina. European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 722380 (the project SUPUVIR); Innovation Fund Denmark under the project J. No. 4107-00011A (the project ShapeOCT). Det Frie Forskningsråd (DFF) under the project No. LOISE-4184-00532B (the project LOISE).
© 2021, The Author(s).