We report on the development of a low-cost hand-held low-coherence interferometric imaging system based on the principle of linear optical coherence tomography (Linear OCT), a technique which was first proposed in the early 2000s as a simpler alternative to the conventional time-domain and Fourier-domain OCT. A bench-top implementation of the proposed technique is first presented and validated. The axial resolution, SNR, and sensitivity roll-of of the system was estimated to be 5.2 m and 80 dB, and 3.7 dB over a depth of 0.15 mm, respectively. After validating the bench-top system, two hand-held probe implementations for contact-based imaging and in vivo human tympanic membrane imaging are presented. The performance of the proposed system was compared with a research-grade state-of-the-art Fourier-domain low coherence interferometry (LCI) system by imaging several biological and non-biological samples. The results of this study suggest that the proposed system might be a suitable choice for applications where imaging depth and SNR can be traded for lower cost and simpler optical design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number#279361
Pages (from-to)338-348
Number of pages11
JournalBiomedical Optics Express
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Imaging systems
  • Interferometric imaging
  • Optical coherence tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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