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7 October 2005 Feasibility of a compact fiber optic probe for real time tracing of subsurface skin birefringence
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A novel approach anticipates real time acquisition of spatially resolved polarization data to facilitate fast cross-sectional tracing collagen-related birefringence in skin down to reticular dermis, i.e. up to the depth of a few hundreds micrometers. It is based on a unique integration of a static-type interferometer in a time domain system intended for polarization-sensitive optical coherence tomography (PS-OCT). The design concept avoids any movable parts to evolve fringes over the traced depth, and exploits liquid crystal bistable switches to rapidly discriminate between orthogonal polarization components of the analyzable signal. The signal is transmitted through a polarization maintaining fiber and detected, by turns, in the single optical channel by the same line camera of appropriate format. The approach relies on the statements proven in the art. In particular, time-domain PS-OCT based on coherent detection of the fringe intensity in orthogonal polarization components of reflected signal allows identifying at least qualitatively collagen depletion regions in subsurface skin layers. Polarization state of light backscattered from sufficiently shallow depth in skin is defined mostly by linear birefringence of collagen fibers. Propagation of light in such linearly birefringent medium satisfies the reciprocity principle in optics.
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Vitaly Tugbaev and Risto Myllyla "Feasibility of a compact fiber optic probe for real time tracing of subsurface skin birefringence", Proc. SPIE 5861, Optical Coherence Tomography and Coherence Techniques II, 58610M (7 October 2005);

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