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Efficient real-time confocal microscopy with white light sources

Naturevolume 383pages804806 (1996) | Download Citation



THE main advantage of confocal microscopes over their conventional counterparts arises from their ability to optically 'section' nearly transparent materials; the thin image slices thus obtained can be used to reconstruct three-dimensional images, a capability which is particularly useful for the study of biological specimens. Confocal microscopes have previously used either a single laser-illuminated point-source and single point-detector (which are scanned in tandem across the object) or white-light illumination with multiple point-sources and detectors. Single-point-source systems, however, do not usually form images in real time and are restricted to using available laser wavelengths. Multiple-point-source systems, on the other hand, produce images in real time but use light very inefficiently—typically 1% or less is used for imaging. Here we demonstrate a white-light, multiple-point-source method which can in principle produce images in real time with light efficiencies as high as 50%. This system is likely to find broad practical application, particularly in the imaging of weakly reflecting or weakly fluorescent specimens.

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  1. Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford, Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3PJ, UK

    • R. Jus̆kaitis
    • , T. Wilson
    • , M. A. A. Neil
    •  & M. Kozubek


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