Abstract

Microscopes aimed at detecting cellular life in extreme environments such as ocean-bearing solar system moons must provide high resolution in a compact, robust instrument. Here, we consider the resolution optimization of a compact off-axis lensless digital holographic microscope (DHM) that consists of a sample placed between an input point-source pair and a detector array. Two optimal high-resolution regimes are identified at opposite extremes—a low-magnification regime with the sample located near a small-pixel detector array, and a high-magnification regime with the sample near the input plane. In the former, resolution improves with smaller pixels, while in the latter, the effect of the finite pixel size is obviated, and the spatial resolution improves with detector array size. Using an off-axis lensless DHM with a 2k×2k array of 5.5 μm-pixels in the high-magnification regime, and standard aberration correction software, a resolution of 0.95  μm has been demonstrated, a factor of 5.8 smaller than the pixel size. Our analysis further suggests that with yet larger detector arrays, a lensless DHM should be capable of near wavelength-scale resolution.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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