Endoscopic low coherence interferometry applied to tri-dimensional contouring of upper airways

This thesis presents a novel approach for optical tri-dimensional contouring, requiring only one acquisition to extract a contour depth. It is based on an interferometric setup, using a reduced coherence light source, and is fully adaptable to endoscopic procedure commonly in used in ear-nose-throat (ENT) medicine. It has been demonstrated that the method can be successfully applied to imaging of porcine upper airways. Although this method uses interferometry to obtain depth range measurement, the phase signal is not directly evaluated, rather the location of the coherent superposition of two waves is extracted, and thus provides a robust technique even in harsh environment. The key feature is to extract the coherent area on the image by locating intentionally induced fringes created by off-axis superposition of a smooth reference wave and an object wave coming from a rough or diffusing sample through an optical system with limited aperture. A model for the propagation of the light through the optical system has been developed. It takes into account the broadened emission spectrum of the light source, as well as the statistical speckle effect induced by the illumination of a rough surface with partially coherent light. Simulated results have been carefully compared with measurements, both in the spatial domain and in the Fourier domain (spatial frequencies response), which has permitted to better understand the processes involved in the creation of the interference fringes, and improve the design of the device. Different filters have been investigated in order to extract the depth information from acquired interferograms. By using Gabor filterbanks, which do not need any a priori knowledge of the signal, selectivity of the extracted signal has been enhanced by a factor of 1.3 compared to a simple local Fourier spectrum evaluation, and time of the extraction procedure divided by 6, even when compared to fast iterative calculation in the Fourier spectrum. Moreover, by imposing the frequency and/or orientation of the signal to detect, which can be known by a simple calibration procedure, it has been proved that the selectivity can be further enhanced by a factor of 2.5, keeping the calculation time as short or even shorter. A compact prototype has been designed and built, with a specific multiple fibers arrangement for illumination. The system is separated in two parts: the first one is directly attached to the rigid endoscope, and contains imaging as well as recombining object/reference wave optics, and the detector. It fits into a box with overall dimensions of 115 × 83 × 94 mm. The second part contains the laser source, the scanning arm and the injection optics for the fibered system. It is designed to be left on a small cart. This device can potentially be brought to the bedside, and used during routine endoscopic check-up. Associated with the device, a complete framework has been elaborated in order to simplify the acquisition procedure as well as the signal processing. This results in a fully automated environment taking in charge hardware control, data storage and signal processing, up to the tri-dimensional scene rendering.

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