Abstract

We present a novel technique for considerably decreasing the sidelobe height of the axial point-spread function of one-photon 4Pi-confocal microscopes. By means of a numerical example, in which the ratio between the excitation and the fluorescence wavelengths was set to ϵ=λexc/λdet=0.8, we show that simply inserting a pair of properly designed two-ring binary masks in the illumination set allows the height of the axial sidelobes to be reduced from 20% to 5% of the height of the central peak. This allows one to receive the full benefit of the strong narrowness of the central lobe provided by the 4Pi-confocal technique.

© 2002 Optical Society of America

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