Advances in characterisation, calibration and data processing speed of optical coherence tomography systems

  • Janarthanan Rasakanthan

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    This thesis describes advances in the characterisation, calibration and data processing of optical coherence tomography (OCT) systems.
    Femtosecond (fs) laser inscription was used for producing OCT-phantoms. Transparent materials are generally inert to infra-red radiations, but with fs lasers material modification occurs via non-linear processes when the highly focused light source interacts with the materials. This modification is confined to the focal volume and is highly reproducible.
    In order to select the best inscription parameters, combination of different inscription parameters were tested, using three fs laser systems, with different operating properties, on a variety of materials. This facilitated the understanding of the key characteristics of the produced structures with the aim of producing viable OCT-phantoms. Finally, OCT-phantoms were successfully designed and fabricated in fused silica. The use of these phantoms to characterise many properties (resolution, distortion, sensitivity decay, scan linearity) of an OCT system was demonstrated.
    Quantitative methods were developed to support the characterisation of an OCT system collecting images from phantoms and also to improve the quality of the OCT images. Characterisation methods include the measurement of the spatially variant resolution (point spread function (PSF) and modulation transfer function (MTF)), sensitivity and distortion.
    Processing of OCT data is a computer intensive process. Standard central processing unit (CPU) based processing might take several minutes to a few hours to process acquired data, thus data processing is a significant bottleneck. An alternative choice is to use expensive hardware-based processing such as field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). However, recently graphics processing unit (GPU) based data processing methods have been developed to minimize this data processing and rendering time. These processing techniques include standard-processing methods which includes a set of algorithms to process the raw data (interference) obtained by the detector and generate A-scans. The work presented here describes accelerated data processing and post processing techniques for OCT systems.
    The GPU based processing developed, during the PhD, was later implemented into a custom built Fourier domain optical coherence tomography (FD-OCT) system. This system currently processes and renders data in real time. Processing throughput of this system is currently limited by the camera capture rate. OCTphantoms have been heavily used for the qualitative characterization and adjustment/ fine tuning of the operating conditions of OCT system. Currently, investigations are under way to characterize OCT systems using our phantoms.
    The work presented in this thesis demonstrate several novel techniques of fabricating OCT-phantoms and accelerating OCT data processing using GPUs. In the process of developing phantoms and quantitative methods, a thorough understanding and practical knowledge of OCT and fs laser processing systems was developed. This understanding leads to several novel pieces of research that are not only relevant to OCT but have broader importance. For example, extensive understanding of the properties of fs inscribed structures will be useful in other photonic application such as making of phase mask, wave guides and microfluidic channels. Acceleration of data processing with GPUs is also useful in other fields.
    Date of Award21 Jan 2015
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorKate Sugden (Supervisor) & David Webb (Supervisor)


    • optical coherence tomography (OCT)
    • graphics processing unit (GPU)
    • data processing
    • femtosecond laser (fs) inscription
    • characterisation
    • calibration phantoms

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