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International Journal of Biomedical Imaging
Volume 2012, Article ID 892680, 10 pages
Research Article

Towards Improved Collagen Assessment: Polarization-Sensitive Optical Coherence Tomography with Tailored Reference Arm Polarization

1Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, 75 Francis Street, Boston, MA 02115, USA
2Harvard Medical School, 25 Shattuck Street, Boston, MA 02115, USA

Received 8 July 2011; Revised 10 November 2011; Accepted 10 November 2011

Academic Editor: Yibin Zheng

Copyright © 2012 Bin Liu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Single channel PS-OCT has advantages for assessing birefringent tissue components in various clinical scenarios, with implications for assessing pathology, ranging from osteoarthritis to myocardial infarction. While the technique has been successfully used both in vitro and in vivo, there have been limited attempts to optimize single channel PS-OCT with respect to performance, particularly paddle rotation. In this study, we developed and tested a new approach for the real-time assessment of birefringence through tailoring of reference arm polarization. Different polarization rotation patterns, as depicted on a Poincare sphere, were assessed with polarization filters and retarders. When further tested in tissue, PS-OCT assessments of bovine cartilage and tendon demonstrated that contrast was sensitive to the pattern selected, indicating that rotation pattern influenced birefringence assessment and providing insights into optimal patterns. We also discuss the difference between diagnostic accuracy and precision with respect to both the construction and application of PS-OCT embodiments.