Fiber optic bundle based optical coherence tomography
Background: Optical coherence tomography (OCT) has been used for high resolution optical imaging in many areas of medicine, especially ophthalmology. "Conventional wisdom" was that OCT could not be done through flexible fiber bundles. Indeed, the use of flexible fiberoptic bundles to deliver OCT directly to a tissue sample has not been previously achieved. Technology: University of California researchers have developed a method and apparatus for performing fiber-optic bundle based OCT. Although the fiber bundle consists of multimode fibers, the fiber bundle can still be used in the sample arm of the OCT system.
The experimental results demonstrated this multimode optical fiber bundle based OCT system can achieve a lateral resolution of 12 m and an axial resolution of 10 m using a super-luminescent diode source. One or two directional scanning can be readily performed on the proximal bundle surface to create 2 or 3 dimensional (3D) images. Because of this fiber bundle design, the scanning mechanism can be placed proximally and no moving parts or driving current are needed within the endoscope. This design is extremely compact, solid and reliable and could be modified for required sizes to perform three dimensional endoscopic imaging in a range of clinical settings. This approach allows the production of a probe which can be very safe without any driving current, and extremely compact and solid without any moving parts. This novel fiber bundle based OCT system demonstrates the great potential for a high performance OCT endoscope to image various internal organs in two or three dimensions. This OCT system would be easy to combine with confocal endoscopic microscopy.
The advantage of the fiber-bundle delivery system is to provide ability to image deep internal organs through endoscopes with OCT, and to remove the moving portions of the scanning system from the immediate proximity of the tissues to be imaged, thereby simplifying and streamlining the probe design of a clinical instrument. The system would be useful for in any application of OCT (medical or other) where it would be advantageous to image through a fiber-optic bundle. The invention provides the simplest method for 3-D OCT imaging in vivo. Application: The invention will be used to develop clinically useful endoscopic OCT systems that can provide high resolution optical imaging of internal organs and tissues. OCT can penetrate tissues and provide information that conventional endoscopy cannot. This invention allows OCT to be used potentially anywhere that can be accessed by endoscopy. Examples of use include, but are not limited to: Field of Urology-bladder cancer detection, Pulmonary Medicine-lung cancer detection and inflammation, Surgery/minimally invasive surgery-arterial anastomosis, Cancer detection (cardiac and others), Gynecological diagnosis (endometriosis, cancer), and Gastrointestinal-cancer and inflammation detection.
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