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What is a Swept Source OCT? – Principle and Advantages

The 21st century is an era of technological revolution. We have witnessed a major technological paradigm shift in almost every sector, including manufacturing, customer service, education, and so on. During this time, we were introduced to cutting-edge technologies in the medical field as well.

Some of the most widely used and advanced imaging technologies are TD-OCT (Time-Domain Optical Coherence Tomography), SD-OCT (Spectral-Domain Optical Coherence Tomography), and Swept source OCT–a type of laser incorporated in the device.

Swept source OCT, also known as SS-OCT, is an ophthalmic imaging technology used to diagnose and treat various eye diseases. It is a non-invasive method for cross-sectional imaging of internal retinal structures that employ low coherence interferometry to detect optical reflections and light echo time delays and, as a result, produces in vivo two-dimensional images of the internal tissue microstructure.

Undoubtedly, swept source OCT has positively impacted and contributed significantly to the study of vitreous humour, also known as vitreous.

In the year 2012, swept source OCT became available for the first time. However, it quickly became a popular and widely accepted retinal and choroidal imaging technology in ophthalmology and other clinical fields due to its remarkable benefits and usability over other imaging technologies such as Spectral-Domain Optical Coherence Tomography and Time Domain Optical Coherence Tomography.

White light interferometry, or low coherence interferometry, is the basis of OCT. An interferometer with a low coherence, broad bandwidth light source is typically used in the optical setup. The reference and sample arms, respectively, split and recombine light.

Furthermore, a narrowband light source with a central wavelength of around 1000 nm is used in swept source OCT. A short cavity swept laser can emit multiple light frequencies, which can then be rapidly tuned over a wide bandwidth.

Because of the shorter wavelength of light, this technology can produce high-resolution, zero-delay cross-sectional images. Let us now take a quick look at some of the significant advantages of swept source OCT.

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