Abstract

Confocal and multiphoton microscopes are particularly sensitive to specimen- or system-induced aberrations, which result in decreased resolution and signal-to-noise ratio. The inclusion of an adaptive optics correction system could help overcome this limitation and restore diffraction-limited performance, but such a system requires a suitable method of wave-front measurement. By extending the concept of a modal wave-front sensor previously described by Neil et al. [J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 17, 1098–1107 (2000)], we present a new sensor capable of measuring directly the Zernike aberration modes introduced by a specimen. This modal sensor is particularly suited to applications in three-dimensional microscopy because of its inherent axial selectivity; only those wave fronts originating in the focal region contribute to the measured signal. Four wave-front sensor configurations are presented and their input response is characterized. Sensitivity matrices and axial responses are presented.

© 2002 Optical Society of America

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