Abstract

We describe a new scanning microscopy technique, phase-dispersion microscopy (PDM). The technique is based on measuring the phase difference between the fundamental and the second-harmonic light in a novel interferometer. PDM is highly sensitive to subtle refractive-index differences that are due to dispersion (differential optical path sensitivity, 5 nm). We apply PDM to measure minute amounts of DNA in solution and to study biological tissue sections. We demonstrate that PDM performs better than conventional phase-contrast microscopy in imaging dispersive and weakly scattering samples.

© 2000 Optical Society of America

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