We theoretically derive the electric field distribution of an astigmatic Gaussian laser beam after it is focused through a high-aperture objective. We show that astigmatism values that are hard to detect in the collimated laser beam can have a large effect after diffraction-limited focusing. Such astigmatic beams may be frequently encountered in fluorescence correlation measurements and in laser-scanning confocal microscopy. We present experimental measurements of the excitation intensity distribution measured by 3D scanning of single fluorescent molecules immobilized on a glass surface.
© 2005 Optical Society of America
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