Optical coherence tomography (OCT) has enabled clinical applications that revolutionized in vivo medical diagnostics. Nevertheless, its current limitations owing to cost, size, complexity, and the need for accurate alignment must be overcome by radically novel approaches. Exploiting integrated optics, we assemble the central components of a spectral-domain OCT system on a silicon chip. The spectrometer comprises an arrayed-waveguide grating with 136-nm free spectral range and 0.21-nm wavelength resolution. The beam splitter is realized by a non-uniform adiabatic coupler with its 3-dB splitting ratio being nearly constant over 150 nm. With this device whose overall volume is 0.36 cm3 we demonstrate high-quality in vivo imaging in human skin with 1.4-mm penetration depth, 7.5-μm axial resolution, and a signal-to-noise ratio of 74 dB. Considering the reasonable performance of this early OCT on-a-chip system and the anticipated improvements in this technology, a completely different range of devices and new fields of applications may become feasible.
- IOMS-PIT: PHOTONICS INTEGRATION TECHNOLOGY
- Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT)
- Integrated optics devices