• molecular contrast;
  • optical coherence tomography;
  • hemoglobin;
  • pump-probe spectroscopy

Currently, optical coherence tomography (OCT), is not capable of obtaining molecular information often crucial for identification of disease. To enable molecular imaging with OCT, we have further developed a technique that harnesses transient changes in light absorption in the sample to garner molecular information. A Fourier-domain Pump-Probe OCT (PPOCT) system utilizing a 532 nm pump and 830 nm probe has been developed for imaging hemoglobin. Methylene blue, a biological dye with well-know photophysics, was used to characterize the system before investigating the origin of the hemoglobin PPOCT signal. The first in vivo PPOCT images were recorded of the vasculature in Xenopus laevis. The technique was shown to work equally well in flowing and nonflowing vessels. Furthermore, PPOCT was compared with other OCT extensions which require flow, such as Doppler OCT and phase-variance OCT. PPOCT was shown to better delineate tortuous vessels, where nodes often restrict Doppler and phase-variance reconstruction. (© 2013 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH &Co. KGaA, Weinheim)