Choosing a laser for laser speckle contrast imaging

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Postnov D. D., Cheng X., Erdener S. E., Boas D. A.

SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, vol.9, 2019 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 9
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1038/s41598-019-39137-x
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


The use of laser speckle contrast imaging (LSCI) has expanded rapidly for characterizing the motion of scattering particles. Speckle contrast is related to the dynamics of the scattering particles via a temporal autocorrelation function, but the quality of various elements of the imaging system can adversely affect the quality of the signal recorded by LSCI. While it is known that the laser coherence affects the speckle contrast, it is generally neglected in in vivo LSCI studies and was not thoroughly addressed in a practical matter. In this work, we address the question of how the spectral width of the light source affects the speckle contrast both experimentally and through numerical simulations. We show that commonly used semiconductor laser diodes have a larger than desired spectral width that results in a significantly reduced speckle contrast compared with ideal narrow band lasers. This results in a reduced signal-to-noise ratio for estimating changes in the motion of scattering particles. We suggest using a volume holographic grating stabilized laser diode or other diodes that have a spectrum of emitted light narrower than approximate to 1 nm to improve the speckle contrast.