Increasing the resolving power of optical systems beyond the limits imposed by diffraction, or superresolution, has considerable theoretical as well as practical interest. Several schemes have been proposed to achieve superresolution with reasonable success, but there are no criteria that enable one to determine what improvement can ultimately be attained for a certain level of resolution. We have determined fundamental limits imposed on the performance of any superresolution strategy. A brief analysis indicates that current optical-superresolution techniques can still have their performance considerably augmented.
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