Optical coherence tomography OCT) is a novel technique that enables noninvasive or minimally invasive, cross-sectional imaging of biological tissue at sub-10mum spatial resolution and up to 2-3mm imaging depth. Numerous technological advances have emerged in recent years that have shown great potential to develop OCT into a powerful imaging and diagnostic tools. In particular, the implementation of Fourier-domain OCT FDOCT) is a major step forward that leads to greatly improved imaging rate and image fidelity of OCT. This dissertation summarizes the work that focuses on enhancing the performances and functionalities of spectral radar based FDOCT SDOCT) for pathological and functional applications. More specifically, chapters 1-4 emphasize on the development of SDOCT and its utility in pathological studies, including cancer diagnosis. The principle of SDOCT is first briefly outlined, followed by the design of our bench-top SDOCT systems with emphasis on spectral linear interpolation, calibration and system dispersion compensation. For ultrahigh-resolution SDOCT, time-lapse image registration and frame averaging is introduced to effectively reduce speckle noise and uncover subcellular details, showing great promise for enhancing the diagnosis of carcinoma in situ. To overcome the image depth limitation of OCT, a dual-modal imaging method combing SDOCT with high-frequency ultrasound is proposed and examined in animal cancer models to enhance the sensitivity and staging capabilities for bladder cancer diagnosis. Chapters 5-7 summarize the work on developing Doppler SDOCT for functional studies. Digital-frequency-ramping OCT DFR-OCT) is developed in the study, which has demonstrated the ability to significantly improve the signal-to-noise ratio and thus sensitivity for retrieving subsurface blood flow imaging. New DFR algorithms and imaging processing methods are discussed to further enhance cortical CBF imaging. Applications of DFR-OCT for brain functional studies are presented and laser speckle imaging is combined to enable quantitative cerebral blood flow CBF) imaging at high spatiotemporal resolutions. An angiography-enhanced Doppler optical coherence tomography aDFR-OCT) was also demonstrated to enable quantitative imaging of capillary changes for brain functional studies. Lastly, future work on technological development and potential biomedical applications is briefly outlined.
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