Twenty-five years of optical coherence tomography: the paradigm shift in sensitivity and speed provided by Fourier domain OCT
BIOMEDICAL OPTICS EXPRESS
Vol. 8, No. 7 | 1 Jul 2017 | 3248-3280
JOHANNES F. DE BOER, RAINER LEITGEB AND MACIEJ WOJTKOWSKI
Optical coherence tomography (OCT) has become one of the most successful optical technologies implemented in medicine and clinical practice mostly due to the possibility of non-invasive and non-contact imaging by detecting back-scattered light. OCT has gone through a tremendous development over the past 25 years. From its initial inception in 1991 [Science 254, 1178 (1991)] it has become an indispensable medical imaging technology in ophthalmology. Also in fields like cardiology and gastro-enterology the technology is envisioned to become a standard of care. A key contributor to the success of OCT has been the sensitivity and speed advantage offered by Fourier domain OCT. In this review paper the development of FD-OCT will be revisited, providing a single comprehensive framework to derive the sensitivity advantage of both SD- and SS-OCT. We point out the key aspects of the physics and the technology that has enabled a more than 2 orders of magnitude increase in sensitivity, and as a consequence an increase in the imaging speed without loss of image quality. This speed increase provided a paradigm shift from point sampling to comprehensive 3D in vivo imaging, whose clinical impact is still actively explored by a large number of researchers worldwide.