Frequency comb swept lasers for optical coherence tomography

Tsung Han Tsai, Chao Zhou, Desmond Adler, James G. Fujimoto

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

2 Scopus citations


We demonstrate a frequency comb (FC) swept laser and a frequency comb Fourier domain mode locked (FC-FDML) laser for applications in optical coherence tomography (OCT). The fiber-based FC swept lasers operate at a sweep rate of 1kHz and 120kHz, respectively over a 135nm tuning range centered at 1310nm with average output powers of 50mW. A 25GHz free spectral range frequency comb filter in the cavity of swept lasers causes the lasers to generate a series of well defined frequency steps. The narrow bandwidth (0.015nm) of the frequency comb filter enables a ~-1.2dB sensitivity roll off over ~3mm range, compared to conventional swept source and FDML lasers which have -10dB and - 5dB roll offs, respectively. Measurements at very long ranges are possible with minimal sensitivity loss, however reflections from outside the principal measurement range of 0-3mm appear aliased back into the principal range. In addition, the frequency comb output from the lasers are equally spaced in frequency (linear in k-space). The filtered laser output can be used to self-clock the OCT interference signal sampling, enabling direct fast Fourier transformation of the fringe signals, without the need for fringe recalibration procedures. The design and operation principles of FC swept lasers are discussed and interferometric measurement applications are proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOptical Coherence Tomography and Coherence Domain Optical Methods in Biomedicine XIV
StatePublished - 2010
EventOptical Coherence Tomography and Coherence Domain Optical Methods in Biomedicine XIV - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: Jan 25 2010Jan 27 2010

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


ConferenceOptical Coherence Tomography and Coherence Domain Optical Methods in Biomedicine XIV
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco, CA


  • Fiber laser
  • Frequency comb
  • Interferometry
  • Optical coherence tomography
  • Swept laser


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