Abstract

Utilizing the interference of wave fronts of two opposing lenses, 4Pi-confocal and I5M microscopy improve the axial resolution of far-field fluorescence microscopy as much as threefold to sevenfold. However, establishing the phase difference of the wave fronts in the sample is a problem yet to be solved. Here we show that the phase difference is encoded in the microscope’s transfer of the spatial frequencies that match the distance of the interference peaks. As a result the phase difference is readily extracted through a Fourier transform of the image. Our method is relevant to all microscopes that exploit the interference of counterpropagating waves to improve the axial and the lateral resolution.

© 2002 Optical Society of America

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