Abstract

A Cr:LiSrAlFl laser, pumped with a diffraction-limited laser diode and mode locked with a saturable Bragg reflector, produces 90-fs pulses at 860 nm with a cw power as high as 88 mW in two beams. It is shown that this recently developed, compact, solid-state laser can be used as an excitation source for two-photon laser scanning microscopy. Morphological and functional images of neocortical and cerebellar neurons were obtained with submicrometer three-dimensional resolution. Single dendritic spines could easily be resolved deep in scattering tissue.

© 1996 Optical Society of America

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