Abstract

We describe a novel technique for determination of the refractive index of hard biological tissue as well as nonopaque technical samples based on optical coherence tomography (OCT). Our method relies on an inverse refractive-index correction (I-RIC), which matches a measured feature geometry distorted due to refractive-index boundaries to its real geometry. For known feature geometry, the refractive index can be determined with high precision from the best match between the distorted and corrected images. We provide experimental data for refractive-index measurements on a polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) and on an ex vivo porcine cranial-bone, which are compared to reference measurements and previously published data. Our method is potentially capable of in vivo measurements on rigid biological tissue such as bone as, for example, is required to improve guidance in robot-aided surgical interventions and also for retrieving complex refractive-index profiles of compound materials.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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