Abstract

We investigate rotational diffusion of fluorescent molecules in angular potential wells, the excitation and subsequent emissions from these diffusing molecules, and the imaging of these emissions with high-NA aplanatic optical microscopes. Although dipole emissions only transmit six low-frequency angular components, we show that angular structured illumination can alias higher-frequency angular components into the passband of the imaging system. We show that the number of measurable angular components is limited by the relationships between three time scales: the rotational diffusion time, the fluorescence decay time, and the acquisition time. We demonstrate our model by simulating a numerical phantom in the limits of fast angular diffusion, slow angular diffusion, and weak potentials.

© 2020 Optical Society of America

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