Oblique plane imaging, using remote focusing with a tilted mirror, enables direct two-dimensional (2D) imaging of any inclined plane of interest in three-dimensional (3D) specimens. It can image real-time dynamics of a living sample that changes rapidly or evolves its structure along arbitrary orientations. It also allows direct observations of any tilted target plane in an object of which orientational information is inaccessible during sample preparation. In this work, we study the optical resolution of this innovative wide-field imaging method. Using the vectorial diffraction theory, we formulate the vectorial point spread function (PSF) of direct oblique plane imaging. The anisotropic lateral resolving power caused by light clipping from the tilted mirror is theoretically analyzed for all oblique angles. We show that the 2D PSF in oblique plane imaging is conceptually different from the inclined 2D slice of the 3D PSF in conventional lateral imaging. Vectorial optical transfer function (OTF) of oblique plane imaging is also calculated by the fast Fourier transform (FFT) method to study effects of oblique angles on frequency responses.
© 2014 Optical Society of America
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