A system and method for microscale measurement and imaging of the group refractive index of a sample. The method utilizes a broadband confocal high-numerical aperture microscope embedded into an interferometer and a spectrometric means, whereby spectral interferograms are analyzed to compute optical path delay of the beam traversing the sample as the sample is translated through the focus of an interrogating light beam. A determination of group refractive index may serve to disambiguate phase ambiguity in a measurement of refractive index at a specified wavelength. Spatial resolution of object characterization in three dimensions is achieved by imaging the object from multiple viewpoints.
Applicable to a variety of industries, this novel method measures Group Refractive Indices of biological tissues at the micron scale and can be applied to several optical imaging techniques, such as Optical Coherence Tomography and Confocal Microscopy.
Although the method can be used for non-medical applications, its most beneficial application is in the diagnosis of cancerous cells. It allows for quickly measuring cells' organelles to indentify cancerous properties.
Since this method does not require refraction, a larger variety of biological samples can be examined. Hardware is readily available for the application of this method, and the method can be applied to any optical imaging technique due to its universal math.