Techniques of digital holography are improved in order to obtain high-resolution, high-fidelity images of quantitative phase-contrast microscopy. In particular, the angular spectrum method of calculating holographic optical field is seen to have significant advantages including tight control of spurious noise components. Holographic phase images are obtained with 0.5 μm diffraction-limited lateral resolution and largely immune from the coherent noise common in other holographic techniques. The phase profile is accurate to about 30 nm of optical thickness. Images of SKOV-3 ovarian cancer cells display intracellular and intranuclear organelles with clarity and quantitative accuracy.
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