In this study, Wieser et al. describe a live 4D OCT engine achieving a rate of 1 GVoxel/s, a major advance in this direction. The authors combined advanced graphics processing unit (GPU) programming with state-of-the-art rapidly tunable laser sweeping, buffering, and acquisition. In particular, previous studies on 4D OCT processing using GPUs suffered from long data transfer between the host computer and GPU memory. The authors solved this issue by constructing multi-threaded software, which asynchronously transfers data from hardware and processes it simultaneously using a dual GPU card. Using such an approach the authors achieve a sustained voxel rate five times higher than previous studies. Video rate 4D OCT requires an A scan rate in the megahertz range. Towards this end, the authors developed a Fourier domain mode-locked (FDML) laser with a dual fiber Bragg grating dispersion compensation module, and operate on the 5th harmonic of the cavity at 402 kHz. This sweep rate was further enhanced to 3.2 MHz by buffering the output of FDML laser.
In conclusion, the advances in real time imaging presented in this study are exciting, and have implications beyond surgical guidance, including real-time analysis of complex three-dimensional systems including turbulent flow and biomechanics, as well as in volumetric functional imaging.
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