Journal of Biomedical OpticsSpatially confined and temporally resolved refractive index and scattering evaluation in human skin performed with optical coherence tomography
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In the present applications of optical coherence tomography (OCT), parameters besides pure morphology are evaluated in skin tissue under in vivo conditions. Spatially mapped refractive indices and scattering coefficients may support tissue characterization for research and diagnostic purposes in cosmetics/pharmacy and medicine, respectively. The sample arm of our OCT setup has been arranged to permit refractive index evaluation with little mechanical adjustment of a lens within the objective. A simple algorithm has been derived. Known from atmospheric work, the Klett algorithm [J. D. Klett, ‘‘Stable analytical inversion solution for processing LIDAR returns,’’ Appl. Opt. 20(2), 211–220 (1981)] has been applied to the same data set for retrieval of scattering coefficients. Both parameters have been measured in layered structures in skin like stratum corneum, epidermis and dermis. Significant water content in a localized sweat gland duct has been observed by refractive index evaluation. Time studies over 1.5 h permitted a first understanding about physiological changes in skin which are not obtainable by intrusive methods.