Polarisation-sensitive optical coherence tomography for material characterisation and strain-field mapping
Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a relatively new imaging technique capable of recording cross-sectional images of transparent and turbid structures with micrometer-scale resolution. Originally developed for biomedical imaging applications, this technique also has a great potential for non-destructive material characterisation and testing. Polarisation-sensitive (PS) OCT is a recent extension of classical OCT that measures and images birefringence properties of a sample, which, however, has not yet been applied to materials science. We present imaging of glass-fibre-enforced epoxy resin compounds and the detection of dry spots, where the epoxy did not properly penetrate the glass-fibre structure. Furthermore, we demonstrate PS-OCT imaging of the birefringence properties of different materials. The mapping of strain fields of samples under uniaxial and non-uniform external stress and the detection of flow patterns in injection-moulded plastic parts could be demonstrated with this technique for the first time.
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