We present a high-speed synthetic aperture microscopy for quantitative phase imaging of live biological cells. We measure 361 complex amplitude images of an object with various directions of illumination covering an NA of 0.8 in less than one-thirteenth of a second and then combine the images with a phase-referencing method to create a synthesized phase image. Because of the increased depth selectivity, artifacts from diffraction that are typically present in coherent imaging are significantly suppressed, and lateral resolution of phase imaging is improved. We use the instrument to demonstrate high-quality phase imaging of live cells, both static and dynamic, and thickness measurements of a nanoscale cholesterol helical ribbon.
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