High-resolution handheld rigid endomicroscope based on full-field optical coherence tomography
Journal of Biomedical Optics
Full-field optical coherence tomography (FF-OCT) is a powerful tool for nondestructive assessment of biological tissue, i.e., for the structural examination of tissue in depth at a cellular resolution. Mostly known as a microscopy device for ex vivo analysis, FF-OCT has also been adapted to endoscopy setups since it shows good potential for in situ cancer diagnosis and biopsy guidance. Nevertheless, all the attempts to perform endoscopic FF-OCT imaging did not go beyond lab setups. We describe
... etups. We describe here, to the best of our knowledge, the first handheld FF-OCT endoscope based on a tandem interferometry assembly using incoherent illumination. A common-path passive imaging interferometer at the tip of an optical probe makes it robust and insensitive to environmental perturbations, and a low finesse Fabry-Perot processing interferometer guarantees a compact system. A good resolution (2.7 μm transverse and 6 μm axial) is maintained through the long distance, small diameter relay optics of the probe, and a good signal-to-noise ratio is achieved in a limited 100 ms acquisition time. High-resolution images and a movie of a rat brain slice have been recorded by moving the contact endoscope over the surface of the sample, allowing for tissue microscopic exploration at 20 μm under the surface. These promising ex vivo results open new perspectives for in vivo imaging of biological tissue, in particular, in the field of cancer and surgical margin assessment.