We present a robust fiber-based setup for Bessel-like beam extended depth-of-focus Fourier-domain optical coherence microscopy, where the Bessel-like beam is generated in a higher order mode fiber module. In this module a stable guided LP02 core mode is selectively excited by a long period grating written in the higher order mode fiber. Imaging performance of this system in terms of lateral resolution and depth of focus was analyzed using samples of suspended microbeads and compared to the case where illumination is provided by the fundamental LP01 mode of a single mode fiber. Illumination with the LP02 mode allowed for a lateral resolution down to 2.5 m as compared to 4.5 m achieved with the LP01 mode of the single mode fiber. A three-fold enhancement of the depth of focus compared to a Gaussian beam with equally tight focus is achieved with the LP02 mode. Analysis of the theoretical lateral point spread functions for the case of LP01 and LP02 illumination agrees well with the experimental data. As the design space of waveguides and long-period gratings allows for further optimization of the beam parameters of the generated Bessel-like beams in an all-fiber module, this approach offers a robust and yet flexible alternative to free-space optics approaches or the use of conical fiber tips.
Biomed Opt Express