Biopsy sampling error can be a problem for the diagnosis of certain gastrointestinal tract diseases. Spectrally-encoded confocal microscopy (SECM) is a high-speed reflectance confocal microscopy technology that has the potential to overcome sampling error by imaging large regions of gastrointestinal tract tissues. The aim of this study was to test a recently developed SECM endoscopic probe for comprehensively imaging large segments of the esophagus at the microscopic level in vivo.
Spectrally encoded confocal microscopy (SECM) is a reflectance confocal microscopy technology that uses a diffraction grating to illuminate different locations on the sample with distinct wavelengths. SECM can obtain line images without any beam scanning devices, which opens up the possibility of high-speed imaging with relatively simple probe optics. This feature makes SECM a promising technology for rapid endoscopic imaging of internal organs, such as the esophagus, at microscopic resolution. SECM imaging of the esophagus has been previously demonstrated at relatively low line rates (5 kHz). In this paper, we demonstrate SECM imaging of large regions of esophageal tissues at a high line imaging rate of 100 kHz. The SECM system comprises a wavelength-swept source with a fast sweep rate (100 kHz), high output power (80 mW), and a detector unit with a large bandwidth (100 MHz). The sensitivity of the 100-kHz SECM system was measured to be 60 dB and the transverse resolution was 1.6 µm. Excised swine and human esophageal tissues were imaged with the 100-kHz SECM system at a rate of 6.6 mm(2)/sec. Architectural and cellular features of esophageal tissues could be clearly visualized in the SECM images, including papillae, glands, and nuclei. These results demonstrate that large-area SECM imaging of esophageal tissues can be successfully conducted at a high line imaging rate of 100 kHz, which will enable whole-organ SECM imaging in vivo.
Three-dimensional (3-D) visualization of the fine structures within the lung parenchyma could advance our understanding of alveolar physiology and pathophysiology. Current knowledge has been primarily based on histology, but it is a destructive two-dimensional (2-D) technique that is limited by tissue processing artifacts. Micro-CT provides high-resolution three-dimensional (3-D) imaging within a limited sample size, but is not applicable to intact lungs from larger animals or humans. Optical reflectance techniques offer the promise to visualize alveolar regions of the large animal or human lung with sub-cellular resolution in three dimensions. Here, we present the capabilities of three optical reflectance techniques, namely optical frequency domain imaging, spectrally encoded confocal microscopy, and full field optical coherence microscopy, to visualize both gross architecture as well as cellular detail in fixed, phosphate buffered saline-immersed rat lung tissue. Images from all techniques were correlated to each other and then to corresponding histology. Spatial and temporal resolution, imaging depth, and suitability for in vivo probe development were compared to highlight the merits and limitations of each technology for studying respiratory physiology at the alveolar level.
We describe confocal self-interference microscopy with enhanced lateral resolution. A uniaxial anisotropic crystal is used to cause interference between two linearly polarized beams that are reflected from the same pointlike object in the focal plane of the objective lens. Theory and the optimal design that maximizes the sensitivity of the interference signal are presented. A numerical experiment shows a 38% decrease in the lateral FWHM for simple confocal self-interference microscopy.