Abstract

The effects of using radially polarized illumination in a confocal microscope are discussed, and the introduction of a polarization mode converter into the detection optics of the microscope is proposed. We find that with such a configuration, bright-field imaging can be performed without losing the resolution advantage of radially polarized illumination. The detection efficiency can be increased by three times without having to increase the pinhole radius and sacrificing the confocality of the system. Furthermore, the merits of such a setup are also discussed in relation to surface plasmon microscopy and single-molecule orientation studies, where the doughnut point spread function can be engineered into a single-lobed point spread function.

© 2009 Optical Society of America

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