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Sub-surface imaging of soiled cotton fabric using full-field optical coherence tomography

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>13/05/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>Optics Express
Issue number10
Volume27
Number of pages14
Pages (from-to)13951-13964
Publication statusPublished
Early online date30/04/19
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

In the laundry industry, colorimetry is a common way to evaluate the stain removal efficiency of detergents and cleaning products. For ease of visualization, the soiling agent is treated with a dye before measurement. However, it effectively measures the dye removal rather than stain removal, and it cannot provide depth-resolved information of the sample. In this study, we show that full-field (FF) optical coherence tomography (OCT) technique is capable of measuring the cleaning effect on cotton fabric by imaging the sub-surface features of fabric samples. We used a broadband light-emitting diode (LED) source to power the FF-OCT system that achieves the resolution of 1 µm axially and 1.6 µm laterally. This allows the micron-sized cotton fibres/fibrils at different depth positions to be resolved. The clean, the soiled, and the washed samples can be differentiated from their cross-sectional images using OCT, where the cleaning effect can be correlated with the sub-surface fibre volume. The experimental results of the proposed method were found to be in good agreement with those of the standard colorimetry method. The proposed technique therefore offers an alternative way for measuring the stain removal from fabric substrate to assess the effectiveness of laundry detergent products.