Modern imaging systems help scientists unveil the last secrets of the human body. Their understanding of cellular and molecular processes provides doctors and medical engineers with valuable insights for the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic procedures – many of them using the advantages of laser technology.
In the life sciences and medicine, interferometers are used for the high-resolution examination of tissue structures.
Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a high-resolution method for the non-invasive examination of tissue or the structural analysis of inorganic materials. A Michelson interferometer is used to determine the backscattering behavior of the sample. From the measured values, a two or three-dimensional representation of the internal microstructure with an optical resolution between 1 μm and 15 μm can then be obtained.
In OCT, it is often desirable to focus on different planes. In ophthalmology, for example, both the depth profile of the retina and the structure of the cornea are determined. Motorized optical delay lines quickly adjust the OCT systems to different depth planes.