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Microscopy with self-reconstructing beams

Nature Photonics volume 4, pages 780785 (2010) | Download Citation

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Abstract

Although self-reconstructing beams have been the focus of many scientific studies over the past decade, hardly anything is known about their propagation and self-healing behaviour in a three-dimensional, inhomogeneous medium. The controlled reduction of scattering and beam spreading would enable a new illumination concept for light microscopes, particularly for those designed to look deep into scattering tissue. By investigating three different classes of refractive index inhomogeneity, using two large glass spheres, a cluster of smaller spheres and a piece of human skin, respectively, we show that beam self-reconstruction is indeed possible. We demonstrate that a Bessel beam is unexpectedly robust against deflection at objects, and we define measures for self-reconstruction in this context. We present a prototype of a microscope with self-reconstructing beams (MISERB) and show that a holographically shaped, scanned Bessel beam not only reduces scattering artefacts, but also simultaneously increases image quality and penetration depth in dense media.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank Carl Zeiss MicroImaging GmbH (Jena, Germany) for support in instrument development. Further thanks go to Dr. M. Peschen and Dr. R. Pfister for providing fresh human skin as well as to Prof. Olaf Ronneberger, B. Bosworth, C. Gohn-Kreuz and P. v. Olshausen for helpful discussions. This study was supported by the Excellence Initiative of the German Federal and State Governments (EXC 294).

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Centre for Biological Signalling Studies (bioss), University of Freiburg, Germany

    • Florian O. Fahrbach
    •  & Alexander Rohrbach
  2. Laboratory for Bio- and Nano-Photonics, Department of Microsystems Engineering-IMTEK, University of Freiburg, Freiburg 79110, Germany

    • Florian O. Fahrbach
    • , Philipp Simon
    •  & Alexander Rohrbach

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Contributions

F.F. designed the system, performed experiments and simulations, analysed the data and prepared all graphs. P.S. performed experiments on human skin. A.R. initiated and supervised the project, developed the theory and wrote the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Florian O. Fahrbach or Alexander Rohrbach.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nphoton.2010.204

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