Abstract

For many microscopy applications, millimeters-long free working distances (LWD) are required. However, the high resolution and contrast of LWD objectives operated in air are lost when introducing glass and/or liquid with the sample. We propose to use spatial light modulation to correct for such beam aberrations caused by refractive index mismatches. Focusing a monochromatic laser beam with a 10 mm working distance air objective (50×, 0.5 NA) through air, glass, and water, we manage to restore a sharp, intense focus (FWHM<2λ) by adaptive beam phase shaping. Our approach offers a practical and cost-effective route to high resolution and contrast microscopy using LWD air objectives, extending their usage beyond applications in air.

© 2012 Optical Society of America

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