A new optical heterodyne scanning microscope is described in which both the illumination beam and reference beam scan the object in synchronization. Characteristics of the microscope are similar to those of the laser scanning microscope. The present system, however, has additional advantages in that the object illumination can be at least one order of magnitude less intense and that ambient light has no effect for images. Preliminary experimental results will be shown, including a two-dimensional cross-section pattern from a 3–D object, unfocused image rejection characteristics, and images of some biological samples.
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