Spectrally encoded confocal microscopy (SECM) is a novel approach for obtaining high resolution, depth-sectioned images of microstructure within turbid samples. By encoding one spatial dimension in wavelength, imaging probes can be greatly simplified compared to standard scanning confocal microscopes, potentially enabling endoscopic implementation. The use of a diffraction grating for spectral encoding, however, skews the optical axis through the probe, thus complicating the design of narrow diameter instruments. In this Letter, we describe a novel use of a single-optical-axis element based on high index-of-refraction prisms and a transmission holographic grating for the design of narrow diameter SECM devices. Confocal images obtained with a 10.0 mm probe demonstrate a transverse resolution of 1.1 µm and a field of view of 650 µm.
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