Abstract

The dependence of spectral broadening of an ultrashort-pulsed laser beam on the fiber length and the illumination power is experimentally characterized in order to deliver the laser for two-photon fluorescence microscopy. It is found that not only the spectral width but also the spectral blue shift increases with the fiber length and illumination power, owing to the nonlinear response in the fiber. For an illumination power of 400 mW in a 3-m-long single-mode fiber, the spectral blue shift is as large as 15 nm. Such a spectral blue shift enhances the contribution from the short-wavelength components within the pulsed beam and leads to an improvement in resolution under two-photon excitation, whereas the efficiency of two-photon excitation is slightly reduced because of the temporal broadening of the pulsed beam. The experimental measurement of the axial response to a two-photon fluorescence polymer block confirms this feature.

© 2002 Optical Society of America

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