The signal and idler beams from a picosecond, synchronously pumped optical parametric oscillator (OPO) provide the two colors necessary for coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (CARS) microscopy. The OPO provides a continuously tunable frequency difference between the two beams over a broad range of Raman shifts by varying the temperature of a single nonlinear crystal. The near-infrared output allows for deep penetration into thick samples and reduced nonlinear photodamage. Applications of this light source to in vivo cell and ex vivo tissue imaging are demonstrated.
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