Abstract

We describe a full-field phase-gradient imaging method: asymmetric illumination-based differential phase contrast (AIDPC). Imaging properties of AIDPC are evaluated using the phase-gradient transfer-function approach and elucidated with experimental images of an optical fiber and a histochemical preparation of a skeletal muscle section. In comparison with full-field differential interference contrast, AIDPC does not require phase shifting for quantitative imaging of phase gradient, provides artifact-free images of birefringent specimens, requires shorter camera exposure, and has larger depth of focus. It is amenable to transfer-function engineering, simultaneous fluorescence imaging, and automated live cell imaging.

© 2009 Optical Society of America

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