Subcellular optical coherence tomography with a Kerr lens mode-locked Ti:Al2O3 laser

Wolfgang Drexler, Uwe Morgner, Costas Pitris, Stephen A. Boppart, Franz X. Kartner, Xingde Li, Seong Ho Cho, Erich P. Ippen, Mark E. Brezinski, James G. Fujimoto

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


The longitudinal resolution of optical coherence tomography (OCT) is currently limited by the optical bandwidth of the light source, typically a superluminescent diodes, to approximately 10-15 μm. This resolution is insufficient to identify individual cells or to assess subcellular structures such as nuclei or mitotic figures. The ability to perform subcellular imaging with OCT could greatly enhance the detection of early neoplastic changes and improve early cancer diagnosis or the imaging of developing biological morphology. Higher resolution OCT would also improve specificity of diagnosis for several ocular diseases, such as glaucoma, which require precise, detailed imaging and measurement of retinal nerve fiber layer thickness. State of the art Kerr-lens mode-locked (KLM) Ti:A2O3 lasers using double chirped dispersion compensating mirrors can generate pulse durations of <7 fs and bandwidths of 200 nm or more at 800 nm center wavelength. These pulse durations and bandwidths can be used for OCT, resulting in longitudinal resolutions of less than 2 μm. The use of such broad bandwidths also enables the extraction of localized, wavelength dependent absorption and scattering tissue characteristic by detecting the full interferometric fringe signal and using Fourier signal processing. In this paper we demonstrate an ultra-high, subcellular level resolution, spectroscopic OCT system based on a mode-locked Ti:Al2O3 laser. In vivo imaging of developmental biology specimens as well as preliminary in vivo spectroscopic OCT results are demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)216-223
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes
EventProceedings of the 1999 Coherence Domain Optical Methods in Biomedical Science and Clinical Applications III - San Jose, CA, USA
Duration: Jan 27 1999Jan 29 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Subcellular optical coherence tomography with a Kerr lens mode-locked Ti:Al2O3 laser'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this