Direct Laser Writing-Enabled Microstructures with Tailored Reflectivity for Optical Coherence Tomography Phantoms

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As the continuous push to improve medical imaging techniques produces increasingly complex systems, so too must the phantoms critical to the accurate evaluation of these systems evolve. The inclusion of precise geometries is a well documented gap in optical coherence tomography (OCT) phantoms, a gap felt more severely as the technology improves. This thesis seeks to investigate the feasibility of utilizing new manufacturing techniques in the production of OCT phantoms with complex geometries while developing a phantom to determine the sensitivity of OCT systems. The new manufacturing methods include the replication of microstructures printed via direct laser writing into PMMA photoresist, the tailored smoothing of surface roughness inherent to direct laser writing, and the selective retention of surface roughness in certain regions. Each of these methods were implemented in the manufacture of an OCT sensitivity phantom and were found to be effective in each of their respective goals.The efficacy of the sensitivity phantom in evaluating the minimum reflectance still detectable by an OCT system shows promise. Effective reflectivity ranging from 0 to ~1 was accomplished within a single angled element and should provide a basis for determining the minimum reflectivity that results in a signal-to-noise ratio of 1. Further improvements must be made to the phantom footprint and manufacturing before the phantom’s reliability is certain.