Usually, a technique for performing an optical biopsy is an invasive one, nevertheless, fiber optic technology has dramatically changed the situation. The new optical fiber technique allows carrying out an optical biopsy without the need to take tissue specimens. Thus, fiber technology has a great influence on the diagnosis and clinical management of numerous diseases.
That is why a new optical imaging technique of optical coherence tomography is used, especially in ophthalmology. The thing is that it is more challenging to employ the current fiber optic technique for process imaging in other human tissue because of optical scattering. Herewith, optical fiber imaging can be also used for performing high-resolution imaging of vascular lesions and may be very effective in imaging of other organs, for example, the gastrointestinal tract.
The main component of OCT for process imaging of internal organs is an endoscopic fiber catheter that allows delivering, focusing, scanning, and collecting a single spatial-mode optical beam. Additionally, such a fiber catheter-endoscope must have the following features: flexibility, a compact diameter to easily enter into internal channels like coronary arteries that have tiny inner diameters of 1 mm.
This single-mode endoscopic fiber catheter for optical coherence tomography is an allowing fiber optic technology for developing a huge variety of catheters and
endoscopes and will offer the OCT imaging of numerous tissue and organ systems that were not impossible before.
The composition of the endoscopic fiber catheter includes “an optical coupling element at its proximal end, a single-mode optical fiber running the length of the catheter, and an optical focusing and beam directing elements at the distal end”. The main purpose of the fiber catheter is scanning the beam in a circumferential pattern to image cross-sectionally through the vessel or other biological structure into which it is inserted.
The principle of the endoscopic fiber catheter is based on scanning the catheter by rotating the optical fiber as well as the distal optics. The body of the fiber catheter is flexible to enable it to make bending during passage possible through internal channels like blood vessels.
Finally, the developed single-mode endoscopic fiber catheter for optical coherence tomography imaging was tested on human internal organ systems. Herewith, the fiber catheter has a compact size, it is a quite inexpensive fiber optic technology that can be applied in optical biopsy in tissues such as the vascular system, the gastrointestinal tract, the urinary tract, and the respiratory tract.
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