Abstract

A numerical model was developed to simulate the effects of tissue optical properties, objective numerical aperture (N.A.), and instrument performance on two-photon-excited fluorescence imaging of turbid samples. Model data are compared with measurements of fluorescent microspheres in a tissuelike scattering phantom. Our results show that the measured two-photon-excited signal decays exponentially with increasing focal depth. The overall decay constant is a function of absorption and scattering parameters at both excitation and emission wavelengths. The generation of two-photon fluorescence is shown to be independent of the scattering anisotropy, g, except for g > 0.95. The N.A. for which the maximum signal is collected varies with depth, although this effect is not seen until the focal plane is greater than two scattering mean free paths into the sample. Overall, measurements and model results indicate that resolution in two-photon microscopy is dependent solely on the ability to deliver sufficient ballistic photon density to the focal volume. As a result we show that lateral resolution in two-photon microscopy is largely unaffected by tissue optical properties in the range typically encountered in soft tissues, although the maximum imaging depth is strongly dependent on absorption and scattering coefficients, scattering anisotropy, and objective N.A..

© 2000 Optical Society of America

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