Optical coherence tomography (OCT) and Photoacoustic microscopy (PAM) are two noninvasive, high-resolution, three-dimensional, biomedical imaging modalities based on different contrast mechanisms. OCT detects the light backscattered from a biological sample either in the time or spectral domain using an interferometer to form an image. PAM is sensitive to optical absorption by detecting the light-induced acoustic waves to form an image. Due to their complementary contrast mechanisms, OCT and PAM are suitable for being combined to achieve multimodal imaging. In this dissertation, an optical coherence photoacoustic microscopy (OC-PAM) system was developed for in vivo multimodal retinal imaging with a pulsed broadband NIR light source. To test the capabilities of the system on multimodal ophthalmic imaging, the retina of pigmented rats was imaged. The OCT images showed the retinal structures with quality similar to conventional OCT, while the PAM images revealed the distribution of melanin in the retina since the NIR PAM signals are generated mainly from melanin in the posterior segment of the eye. By using the pulsed broadband light source, the OCT image quality highly depends on the pulse-to-pulse stability of the light source without averaging. In addition, laser safety is always a concern for in vivo applications, especially for eye imaging with a pulsed light source. Therefore, a continuous wave (CW) light source is desired for OC-PAM applications. An OC-PAM system using an intensity-modulated CW superluminescent diode was then developed. The system was tested for multimodal imaging the vasculature of a mouse ear in vivo by using Gold Nanorods (GNRs) as contrast agent for PAM, as well as excised porcine eyes ex vivo. Since the quantitative information of the optical properties extracted from the proposed NIR OC-PAM system is potentially able to provide a unique technique to evaluate the existence of melanin and lipofuscin specifically, a phantom study has been conducted and the relationship between image intensity of OCT and PAM was interpreted to represent the relationship between the optical scattering property and optical absorption property. It will be strong evidence for practical application of the proposed NIR OC-PAM system
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