Flow measurement using speckle in optical coherence tomography images

Jennifer K. Barton, Steven Stromski

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Doppler optical coherence tomography (DOCT) is a valuable tool for depth-resolved flow measurements in tissue. However, DOCT suffers from two disadvantages: it is insensitive to flow in the direction normal to the imaging beam, and it requires knowledge of the phase of the demodulated signal. We present an alternative method of extracting flow information, using speckle of conventional amplitude optical coherence tomography images. The two techniques can be shown to be essentially equivalent, with the distinction that speckle methods are sensitive to flow in all directions but do not provide information on the direction of flow. It is well known in other imaging modalities that moving scatterers cause a time-varying speckle pattern. Due to the pixel-by-pixel acquisition scheme of conventional OCT, time-varying speckle is manifested as a change of OCT image spatial speckle frequencies. We tested the ability of speckle to provide quantitative flow information using a flow phantom (a tube filled with Intralipid flowing at a constant volumetric flow rate). Initially, m-scans were taken at over the center of the tube. Images were averaged to reduce noise and the region corresponding to the center one-quarter of the tube lumen was selected. Sequential a-scans were concatenated, the Fourier transform performed, and a ratio of high to low spatial frequencies computed. We found that, over a range of velocities, this ratio bore a linear relation to flow velocity. For two-dimensional imaging, the program was modified to use a sliding window. Parabolic flow profile was visualized inside the tube. This study shows the feasibility of extracting quantitative flow data in all directions without phase information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number43
Pages (from-to)245-256
Number of pages12
JournalProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
StatePublished - 2005
EventCoherence Domain Optical Methods and Optical Coherence Tomography in Biomedicine IX - San Jose, CA, United States
Duration: Jan 23 2005Jan 26 2005


  • Doppler
  • Flow measurement
  • Optical coherence tomography
  • Speckle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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