Acute coronary events such as myocardial infarction are frequently caused by the rupture of unstable atherosclerotic plaque. Collagen plays a key role in determining plaque stability. Methods to measure plaque collagen content are invaluable in detecting unstable atherosclerotic plaques. Recently, novel coherent laser-based imaging techniques, such as polarization-sensitive optical coherence tomography (PSOCT) and laser speckle imaging (LSI) have been investigated, and they provide a wealth of information related to collagen content and plaque stability. Additionally, given their potential for intravascular use, these technologies will be invaluable for improving our understanding of the natural history of plaque development and rupture and, hence, enable the detection of unstable plaques. In this article we review recent developments in these techniques and potential challenges in translating these methods into intra-arterial use in patients.