Focusing light inside dynamic scattering media with millisecond digital optical phase conjugation
Optical phase conjugation based wavefront shaping techniques are being actively developed to focus light through or inside scattering media such as biological tissue, and they promise to revolutionize optical imaging, manipulation, and therapy. The speed of digital optical phase conjugation (DOPC) has been limited by the low speeds of cameras and spatial light modulators (SLMs), preventing DOPC from being applied to thick living tissue. Recently, a fast DOPC system was developed based on a single-shot wavefront measurement method, a field programmable gate array (FPGA) for data processing, and a digital micromirror device (DMD) for fast modulation. However, this system has the following limitations. First, the reported single-shot wavefront measurement method does not work when our goal is to focus light inside, instead of through, scattering media. Second, the DMD performed binary amplitude modulation, which resulted in a lower focusing contrast compared with that of phase modulations. Third, the optical fluence threshold causing DMDs to malfunction under pulsed laser illumination is lower than that of liquid crystal based SLMs, and the system alignment is significantly complicated by the oblique reflection angle of the DMD. Here, we developed a simple but high-speed DOPC system using a ferroelectric liquid crystal based SLM (512 × 512 pixels), and focused light through three diffusers within 4.7 ms. Using focused-ultrasound-guided DOPC along with a double exposure scheme, we focused light inside a scattering medium containing two diffusers within 7.7 ms, thus achieving the fastest digital time-reversed ultrasonically encoded (TRUE) optical focusing to date.