Speckle is an inevitable consequence of the use of coherent light in imaging and acts as noise that corrupts image formation in most applications. Optical coherence tomographic imaging, as a technique employing coherence time gating, suffers from speckle. We present here a novel method of suppressing speckle noise intrinsically compatible with adaptive optics (AO) for confocal coherent imaging: modulation of the phase in the system pupil aperture with a segmented deformable mirror (DM) to introduce minor perturbations in the point spread function. This approach creates uncorrelated speckle patterns in a series of images, enabling averaging to suppress speckle noise while maintaining structural detail. A method is presented that efficiently determines the optimal range of modulation of DM segments relative to their AO-optimized position so that speckle noise is reduced while image resolution and signal strength are preserved. The method is active and independent of sample properties. Its effectiveness and efficiency are quantified and demonstrated by both ex vivo non-biological and in vivo biological applications.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics