Preclinical and clinical diagnostics increasingly rely on techniques to visualize internal organs at high resolution via endoscopes. Miniaturized endoscopic probes are necessary for imaging small luminal or delicate organs without causing trauma to tissue. However, current fabrication methods limit the imaging performance of highly miniaturized probes, restricting their widespread application. To overcome this limitation, we developed a novel ultrathin probe fabrication technique that utilizes 3D microprinting to reliably create side-facing freeform micro-optics (<130 µm diameter) on single-mode fibers. Using this technique, we built a fully functional ultrathin aberration-corrected optical coherence tomography probe. This is the smallest freeform 3D imaging probe yet reported, with a diameter of 0.457 mm, including the catheter sheath. We demonstrated image quality and mechanical flexibility by imaging atherosclerotic human and mouse arteries. The ability to provide microstructural information with the smallest optical coherence tomography catheter opens a gateway for novel minimally invasive applications in disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics