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Stimulated Raman scattering microscopy with a robust fibre laser source

Abstract

Stimulated Raman scattering microscopy allows label-free chemical imaging and has enabled exciting applications in biology, material science and medicine. It provides a major advantage in imaging speed over spontaneous Raman scattering and has improved image contrast and spectral fidelity compared to coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering. Wider adoption of the technique has, however, been hindered by the need for a costly and environmentally sensitive tunable ultrafast dual-wavelength source. We present the development of an optimized all-fibre laser system based on the optical synchronization of two picosecond power amplifiers. To circumvent the high-frequency laser noise intrinsic to amplified fibre lasers, we have further developed a high-speed noise cancellation system based on voltage-subtraction autobalanced detection. We demonstrate uncompromised imaging performance of our fibre-laser-based stimulated Raman scattering microscope with shot-noise-limited sensitivity and an imaging speed up to 1 frame s−1.

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Figure 1: Schematic of the fibre-laser system and SRS microscope.
Figure 2: Characterization of the fibre-laser source.
Figure 3: Autobalanced detection.
Figure 4: SRS spectral imaging with the fibre-laser source.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank P. Hobbs, J. McArthur and J. Trautman for discussions. The authors thank D. Fu and F.-K. Lu for help with sample preparation. This material is based on work supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF; grant no. 1214848 to C.W.F.) and by the National Institutes of Health (NIH; grant no. 5R01EB010244 to X.S.X). This work was performed in part at the Center for Nanoscale Systems (CNS), a member of the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN), which is supported by the NSF (under grant no. ECS-0335765). CNS is part of Harvard University. KK and NP would like to acknowledge the support from the CIAN NSF ERC under grant #EEC-0812072 and the State of Arizona’s TRIF funding.

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Contributions

C.W.F. and K.Q.K. designed and characterized the fibre-laser system. W.Y. and G.R.H. designed and characterized the autobalanced detector. C.W.F. and W.Y. performed the imaging experiments. C.W.F., X.S.X., N.P. and K.Q.K. conceived the project and supervised its implementation. C.W.F., W.Y., K.Q.K., N.P. and X.S.X. wrote the manuscript and all authors commented on it.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to X. Sunney Xie or Khanh Q. Kieu.

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Competing interests

Harvard University and University of Arizona has filed a patent application based on the current work. C.W.F. and X.S.X. have financial interests in Invenio Imaging Inc. K.Q.K. has financial interests in KPhotonics LLC. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF or NIH.

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Freudiger, C., Yang, W., Holtom, G. et al. Stimulated Raman scattering microscopy with a robust fibre laser source. Nature Photon 8, 153–159 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1038/nphoton.2013.360

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