Relative intensity noise (RIN) is one of the most significant factors limiting the sensitivity of an optical coherence tomography (OCT) system. The existing and prevalent theory being used for estimating RIN for various light sources in OCT is questionable, and cannot be applied uniformly for different types of sources. The origin of noise in various sources differs significantly, owing to the different physical nature of photon generation. In this study, we characterize and compare RIN of several OCT light sources including superluminescent diodes (SLDs), an erbium-doped fiber amplifier, multiplexed SLDs, and a continuous-wave laser. We also report a method for reduction of RIN by amplifying the SLD light output by using a gain-saturated semiconductor optical amplifier.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5466150
Pages (from-to)1057-1059
Number of pages3
JournalIEEE Photonics Technology Letters
Issue number14
StatePublished - 2010


  • Optical coherence tomography (OCT)
  • optical noise
  • semiconductor optical amplifiers (SOAs)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials


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