Interferometric near-infrared spectroscopy (iNIRS) is a time-of-flight- (TOF-) resolved sensing modality for determining optical and dynamical properties of a turbid medium. iNIRS achieves this by measuring the interference spectrum of light traversing the medium with a rapidly tunable, or frequency-swept, light source. Thus, iNIRS system performance critically depends on the source and detection apparatus. Using a current-tuned 855 nm distributed feedback laser as the source, we experimentally characterize iNIRS system parameters, including speed, sensitivity, dynamic range, TOF resolution, and TOF range. We also employ a novel Mach-Zehnder interferometer variant with a multi-pass loop to monitor the laser instantaneous linewidth and TOF range at high tuning speeds. We identify and investigate tradeoffs between parameters, with the goal of optimizing performance. We also demonstrate a technique to combine forward and backward sweeps to double the effective speed. Combining these advances, we present in vivo TPSFs and autocorrelations from the mouse brain with TOF resolutions of 22-60 ps, 36-47 dB peak-sidelobe dynamic range, 4-10 μs autocorrelation lag time resolution, a TOF range of nanoseconds or more, and nearly shot noise limited sensitivity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics