Serial optical coherence scanner for large-scale brain imaging at microscopic resolution

Hui Wang, Junfeng Zhu, Taner Akkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


We describe a serial optical coherence scanner (SOCS) for high resolution imaging of ex-vivo brain. SOCS integrates a multi-contrast optical coherence tomography and a vibratome slicer to establish comprehensive brain anatomy and fiber pathways in three-dimensional space. Rat brain images are demonstrated by utilizing intrinsic optical contrasts including back-scattering, birefringence and optic axis orientation, which are simultaneously generated from the same dataset. Volumetric images from serial scans are combined to realize large scale brain maps. Nerve fiber tracts are globally described in 3D by retardance, and delicately delineated by cross-polarization at the resolution of 15×15×5.5μm3. In-plane orientations of the tracts are quantified by optic axis orientation. SOCS offers a new solution for complete reconstructions of macroscopic tissues such as primate and human brains at microscopic resolution. The technique also opens up varieties of opportunities for connectome studies and systematic investigations on neurological diseases and brain disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1007-1017
Number of pages11
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Graduate School Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship at the University of Minnesota (to HW), and a research grant from National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH, R01 EB012538 ). The authors thank Dr. Theoden Netoff for generously offering the vibratome slicer, Heidi Rohrich and a core grant from National Eye Institute ( NIH, P30 EY11374 ) for histology, and Minnesota Supercomputing Institute for the high-performance computing resources.


  • Brain anatomy
  • Connectivity
  • Fiber pathways
  • Nerve fiber orientation
  • Optical coherence tomography
  • Polarization


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