Biomedical imaging has had an enormous impact in medicine and research. There are numerous imaging modalities covering a large range of spatial and temporal scales, penetration depths, along with indicators for function and disease. As these imaging technologies mature, the quality of the images they produce increases to resolve finer details with greater contrast at higher speeds which aids in a faster, more accurate diagnosis in the clinic. In this dissertation, polarization-based optical coherence tomography (OCT) systems are used and developed to image biological structure and function with greater speeds, signal-to-noise (SNR) and stability. OCT can image with spatial and temporal resolutions in the micro range. When imaging any sample, feedback is very important to verify the fidelity and desired location on the sample being imaged. To increase frame rates for display as well as data throughput, field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) were used with custom algorithms to realize real-time display and streaming output for continuous acquisition of large datasets of swept-source OCT systems. For spectral domain (SD) OCT systems, significant increases in signal-to-noise ratios were achieved from a custom balanced detection (BD) OCT system. The BD system doubled measured signals while reducing common term. For functional imaging, a real-time directed scanner was introduced to visualize the 3D image of a sample to identify regions of interest prior to recording. Elucidating the characteristics of functional OCT signals with the aid of simulations, novel processing methods were also developed to stabilize samples being imaged and identify possible origins of functional signals being measured. Polarization-sensitive OCT was used to image cardiac tissue before and after clearing to identify the regions of vascular perfusion from a coronary artery. The resulting 3D image provides a visualization of the perfusion boundaries for the tissue that would be damaged from a myocardial infarction to possibly identity features that lead to fatal cardiac arrhythmias. 3D functional imaging was used to measure functional retinal activity from a light stimulus. In some cases, single trial responses were possible; measured at the outer segment of the photoreceptor layer. The morphology and time-course of these signals are similar to the intrinsic optical signals reported from phototransduction. Assessing function in the retina could aid in early detection of degenerative diseases of the retina, such as glaucoma and macular degeneration.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2015. Major: Biomedical Engineering. Advisor: Taner Akkin. 1 computer file (PDF); x, 103 pages.
Structural and Functional Biomedical Imaging Using Polarization-Based Optical Coherence Tomography.
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