Reference Work Entry

Handbook of Mathematical Methods in Imaging

pp 1169-1204

Mathematical Methods of Optical Coherence Tomography

  • Peter ElbauAffiliated withComputational Science Center, University of Vienna Email author 
  • , Leonidas MindrinosAffiliated withComputational Science Center, University of Vienna
  • , Otmar ScherzerAffiliated withComputational Science Center, University of ViennaRICAM, Austrian Academy of Sciences


In this chapter a general mathematical model of Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) is presented on the basis of the electromagnetic theory. OCT produces high-resolution images of the inner structure of biological tissues. Images are obtained by measuring the time delay and the intensity of the backscattered light from the sample considering also the coherence properties of light. The scattering problem is considered for a weakly scattering medium located far enough from the detector. The inverse problem is to reconstruct the susceptibility of the medium given the measurements for different positions of the mirror. Different approaches are addressed depending on the different assumptions made about the optical properties of the sample. This procedure is applied to a full field OCT system and an extension to standard (time and frequency domain) OCT is briefly presented.