Quantification of plant morphology and leaf thickness with optical coherence tomography

Jos de Wit, Sebastian Tonn, Guido van den Ackerveken, Jeroen Kalkman

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Optical coherence tomography (OCT) can be a valuable imaging tool for in vivo and label-free digital plant phenotyping. However, for imaging leaves, air-filled cavities limit the penetration depth and reduce the image quality. Moreover, up to now quantification of leaf morphology with OCT has been done in one-dimensional or two-dimensional images only, and has often been limited to relative measurements. In this paper, we demonstrate a significant increase in OCT imaging depth and image quality by infiltrating the leaf air spaces with water. In the obtained high-quality OCT images the top and bottom surface of the leaf are digitally segmented. Moreover, high-quality en face images of the leaf are obtained from numerically flattened leaves. Segmentation in three-dimensional OCT images is used to quantify the spatially resolved leaf thickness. Based on a segmented leaf image, the refractive index of an infiltrated leaf is measured to be 1.345 ± 0.004, deviating only 1.2% from that of pure water. Using the refractive index and a correction for refraction effects at the air-leaf interface, we quantitatively mapped the leaf thickness. The results show that OCT is an efficient and promising technique for quantitative phenotyping on leaf and tissue level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10304-10311
JournalApplied Optics
Issue number33
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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