A new noninvasive technique that reveals cross sectional images of scattering media is presented. It is based on a continuous wave frequency modulated radar, but uses a tunable laser in the near infrared. As the full width at half maximum resolution of 16 μm is demonstrated with an external cavity laser, the chirp optical coherence tomography becomes an alternative to conventional short coherence tomography with the advantage of a simplified optical setup. The analysis of two-layer solid phantoms shows that the backscattered light gets stronger with decreasing anisotropic factor and increasing scattering coefficient, as predicted by Monte Carlo simulations. By introducing a two-phase chirp sequence, the combination of lateral resolved perfusion and depth resolved structure is shown. © 1998 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers.