The use of pupil-plane filters in microscopes has been proposed as a method of producing superresolution. Here it is shown that pupil-plane filters cannot increase the support of the transfer function for a large class of optical systems, implying that resolution cannot be improved solely by adding pupil-plane filters to an instrument. However, pupil filters can improve signal-to-noise performance and modify transfer-function zero crossing positions, as demonstrated through a confocal fluorescence example.
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