Application of maximum likelihood estimator in nano-scale optical path length measurement using spectral-domain optical coherence phase microscopy

Opt Express. 2008 Oct 27;16(22):17186-95. doi: 10.1364/oe.16.17186.


Spectral-domain optical coherence phase microscopy (SD-OCPM) measures minute phase changes in transparent biological specimens using a common path interferometer and a spectrometer based optical coherence tomography system. The Fourier transform of the acquired interference spectrum in spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) is complex and the phase is affected by contributions from inherent random noise. To reduce this phase noise, knowledge of the probability density function (PDF) of data becomes essential. In the present work, the intensity and phase PDFs of the complex interference signal are theoretically derived and the optical path length (OPL) PDF is experimentally validated. The full knowledge of the PDFs is exploited for optimal estimation (Maximum Likelihood estimation) of the intensity, phase, and signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) in SD-OCPM. Maximum likelihood (ML) estimates of the intensity, SNR, and OPL images are presented for two different scan modes using Bovine Pulmonary Artery Endothelial (BPAE) cells. To investigate the phase accuracy of SD-OCPM, we experimentally calculate and compare the cumulative distribution functions (CDFs) of the OPL standard deviation and the square root of the Cramér-Rao lower bound (1/ square root 2SNR ) over 100 BPAE images for two different scan modes. The correction to the OPL measurement by applying ML estimation to SD-OCPM for BPAE cells is demonstrated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.