In this paper, an angular compounding method to achieve speckle contrast reduction in optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging is explored in detail. The angular compounding approach involves collecting multiple images at different angles of incidence, registering the images to correct for induced distortions, and then incoherently summing the images to reduce speckle. The method was experimentally demonstrated with a spectrometer-based Master-Slave enhanced OCT instrument capable of directly generating en-face images. We have investigated the impact of the angular range and number of averaged frames on the degree of speckle artefact reduction, as well as the effect on image resolution and sharpness. The minimum angular step necessary to secure a sufficiently small speckle pattern correlation between the images has also been determined, and the method has subsequently been validated on a biological sample (potato cells).
The morphology of embryos produced by in vitro fertilization (IVF) is commonly used to estimate their viability. However, imaging by standard microscopy is subjective and unable to assess the embryo on a cellular scale after compaction. Optical coherence tomography is an imaging technique that can produce a depth-resolved profile of a sample and can be coupled with speckle variance (SV) to detect motion on a micron scale. In this study, day 7 post-IVF bovine embryos were observed either short-term (10 minutes) or long-term (over 18 hours) and analysed by swept source OCT and SV to resolve their depth profile and characterize micron-scale movements potentially associated with viability. The percentage of en-face images showing movement at any given time was calculated as a method to detect the vital status of the embryo. This method could be used to measure the levels of damage sustained by an embryo, for example after cryopreservation, in a rapid and non-invasive way.