Retina-simulating phantom for optical coherence tomography

Jigesh Baxi, William Calhoun, Yasir Jamal Sepah, Daniel X. Hammer, Ilko Ilev, T. Joshua Pfefer, Quan Dong Nguyen, Anant Agrawal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a rapidly growing imaging modality, particularly in the field of ophthalmology. Accurate early diagnosis of diseases requires consistent and validated imaging performance. In contrast to more well-established medical imaging modalities, no standardized test methods currently exist for OCT quality assurance. We developed a retinal phantom which mimics the thickness and near-infrared optical properties of each anatomical retinal layer as well as the surface topography of the foveal pit. The fabrication process involves layer-by-layer spin coating of nanoparticle- embedded silicone films followed by laser micro-etching to modify the surface topography. The thickness of each layer and dimensions of the foveal pit are measured with high precision. The phantom is embedded into a commercially available, water-filled model eye to simulate ocular dispersion and emmetropic refraction, and for ease of use with clinical OCT systems. The phantom was imaged with research and clinical OCT systems to assess image quality and software accuracy. Our results indicate that this phantom may serve as a useful tool to evaluate and standardize OCT performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number021106
JournalJournal of biomedical optics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2014


  • Phantoms
  • optical coherence tomography
  • optical coherence tomography measurements
  • tissue-mimicking phantoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomedical Engineering


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