Abstract

The properties of the focal spot for 4π focusing with radially polarized first-order Laguerre–Gaussian beams are calculated. It is shown that a focal spot that has an extremely sharp dark region at the center and an almost-perfect spherical symmetry can be achieved. When such a hollow dark spherical spot is used in 4π fluorescence depletion microscopy, an axial FWHM spot size of 39nm and a transverse FWHM spot size of 64nm can be achieved simultaneously in a practical system.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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