Abstract

We investigated the experimental performance of an afocal scan engine employing two off-axis parabolic reflectors and it was found not to introduce astigmatism when compared to a freely propagated beam. The performance of the new afocal engine is very similar to an ideal single-mirror scan engine in terms of spot size and beam spot profile (or point spread function) and has an improved flatness of field over other two-dimensional laser scan engines. The parabolic scan engine is contrasted with a comparable spherical mirror arrangement and found to produce superior performance at the intermediate image plane when focused through a scan lens. Further modeling and experimentation point toward volume scanning applications. The significant performance improvement provided by this design, now verified experimentally, will result in superior image quality for fast scanning confocal and two-photon microscopy in particular.

© 2010 Optical Society of America

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