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Proceedings Paper

Polarization-sensitive optical coherence tomography applied to intervertebral disk
Author(s): Stephen John Matcher; Peter Winlove; Sergei V. Gangnus
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Paper Abstract

Polarization-sensitive optical coherence tomography (PSOCT) is a powerful new optical imaging modality that is sensitive to the birefringence properties of tissues. It thus has potential applications in studying the large-scale ordering of collagen fibers within connective tisues and changes related to pathology. As a tissue for study by PSOCT, intervertebral disk respresents an interesting system as the collagen organization is believed to show pronounced variations with depth, on a spatial scale of about 100 μm. We have used a polarization-sensitive optical coherence tomography system to measure the birefringence properties of bovine caudal intervertebral disk and compared this with equine flexor tendon. The result for equine tendon, δ = (3.0 ± 0.5)x10-3 at 1.3 μm, is in broad agreement with values reported for bovine tendon, while bovine intervertebral disk displays a birefringence of about half this, δ = 1.2 x 10-3 at 1.3 μm. While tendon appears to show a uniform fast-axis over 0.8 mm depth, intervertebral disk shows image contrast at all orientations relative to a linearly polarized input beam, suggesting a variation in fast-axis orientation with depth. These initial results suggest that PSOCT could be a useful tool to study collagen organization within this tissue and its variation with applied load and disease.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 July 2003
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 4956, Coherence Domain Optical Methods and Optical Coherence Tomography in Biomedicine VII, (8 July 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.477636
Show Author Affiliations
Stephen John Matcher, Univ. of Exeter (United Kingdom)
Peter Winlove, Univ. of Exeter (United Kingdom)
Sergei V. Gangnus, Univ. of Exeter (United Kingdom)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4956:
Coherence Domain Optical Methods and Optical Coherence Tomography in Biomedicine VII
Valery V. Tuchin; Joseph A. Izatt; James G. Fujimoto, Editor(s)

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