We present two novel optical methods to achieve a significative improvement in the
optical-sectioning capacity of confocal scanning microscopes. The techniques, whose real power
is the simplicity with which they can be implemented, consist of a suitable combination of
symmetrical defocusing with two different manners of apodizing both parts of the confocal
architecture. It is shown that the proposed techniques are useful in both the bright-field and
the fluorescence modes and for reflection and transmission geometries.
© 1998 Optical Society of America
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