Zhou, K. C., Qian, R., Degan, S., Farsiu, S., & Izatt, J. A. (2019). Optical coherence refraction tomography. Nature Photonics, http://doi.org/10.1038/s41566-019-0508-1
Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a cross-sectional, micrometre-scale imaging modality with widespread clinical application. Typical OCT systems sacrifice lateral resolution to achieve long depths of focus for bulk tissue imaging, and therefore tend to have better axial than lateral resolution. Such anisotropic resolution can obscure fine ultrastructural features. Furthermore, conventional OCT suffers from refraction-induced image distortions. Here, we introduce optical coherence refraction tomography (OCRT), which extends the superior axial resolution to the lateral dimension, synthesizing undistorted cross-sectional image reconstructions from multiple conventional images acquired with angular diversity. In correcting refraction-induced distortions to register the OCT images, OCRT also achieves spatially resolved refractive index imaging. We demonstrate greater than threefold improvement in lateral resolution as well as speckle reduction in imaging the tissue ultrastructure, consistent with histology. With further optimization in optical designs to incorporate angular diversity into clinical instruments, OCRT could be widely applied as an enhancement over conventional OCT.