Optics has played a key role in the rapidly developing field, of molecular imaging. The spectroscopic nature and high-resolution imaging capabilities of light provide a means for probing biological morphology and function at the cellular and molecular levels. While the use of bioluminescent and fluorescent probes has become a mainstay in optical molecular imaging, a large number of other optical imaging modalities exist that can be included in this emerging field. In vivo imaging technologies such as optical coherence tomography and reflectance confocal microscopy have had limited use of molecular probes. In the last few years, novel nonfluorescent and nonbioluminescent molecular imaging probes have been developed that will initiate new directions in coherent optical molecular imaging. Classes of probes reviewed in this work include those that alter the local optical scattering or absorption properties of the tissue, those that modulate these local optical properties in a predictable manner, and those that are detected utilizing spectroscopic optical coherence tomography (OCT) principles. In addition to spectroscopic OCT, novel nonlinear interferometric imaging techniques have recently been developed to detect endogenous molecules. Probes and techniques designed for coherent molecular imaging are likely to improve the detection and diagnostic capabilities of OCT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number041208
JournalJournal of biomedical optics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2005


  • Absorption
  • Contrast agents
  • Molecular imaging
  • Nonlinear optics
  • Optical coherence tomography
  • Scattering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Clinical Biochemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Optical probes and techniques for molecular contrast enhancement in coherence imaging'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this