Observing distant objects with a multimode fibre-based holographic endoscope

in: APL Photonics (2021)
Leite, Ivo T.; Turtaev, Sergey; Boonzajer Flaes, Dirk Ewoud; Čižmár, Tomáš
Holographic wavefront manipulation enables converting hair-thin multimode optical fibers into minimally invasive lensless imaging instruments conveying much higher information densities than conventional endoscopes. Their most prominent applications focus on accessing delicate environments, including deep brain compartments, and recording micrometer-scale resolution images of structures in close proximity to the distal end of the instrument. Here, we introduce an alternative “far-field” endoscope capable of imaging macroscopic objects across a large depth of field. The endoscope shaft with dimensions of 0.2 × 0.4 mm2 consists of two parallel optical fibers: one for illumination and the other for signal collection. The system is optimized for speed, power efficiency, and signal quality, taking into account specific features of light transport through step-index multimode fibers. The characteristics of imaging quality are studied at distances between 20mm and 400 mm. As a proof-of-concept, we provide imaging inside the cavities of a sweet pepper commonly used as a phantom for biomedically relevant conditions. Furthermore, we test the performance on a functioning mechanical clock, thus verifying its applicability in dynamically changing environments. With the performance reaching the standard definition of video endoscopes, this work paves the way toward the exploitation of minimally invasive holographic micro-endoscopes in clinical and diagnostics applications.

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