, Volume 88, Issue 3, pp 337-357

Beyond biomedicine: a review of alternative applications and developments for optical coherence tomography

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Abstract

Optical coherence tomography (OCT), a method for depth-resolved imaging within turbid media based on the concept of low-coherence interferometry, rapidly evolved in the recent years with the development of a multitude of new functionalities and modalities. Biomedical research and diagnostics have been up to now the main driving forces for the reported applications and progress in OCT. The characteristics of OCT, precisely the ability to provide high-resolution images in a contact-free way, render this technique also attractive for a broad spectrum of research topics and applications outside the biomedical field. Consequently, a variety of novel applications for OCT and developments for the method itself have started to emerge. In this review we will give a detailed overview of the so far presented OCT-based methods and applications, ranging from dimensional metrology, material research and non-destructive testing, over art diagnostics, botany, microfluidics to data storage and security applications, and include new data from a study on penetration depths in various polymer materials as well as on birefringence imaging of different crystalline polymer structures. Finally, advanced and related OCT techniques are presented with high potential for future applications outside the biomedical field.

PACS

01.30.Rr; 42.30.Wb; 42.40.My