Abstract

Coherent imaging is barely applicable in life-science microscopy due to multiple interference artifacts. Here, we show how these interferences can be used to improve image resolution and contrast. We present a dark-field microscopy technique with evanescent illumination via total internal reflection that delivers high-contrast images of coherently scattering samples. By incoherent averaging of multiple coherent images illuminated from different directions we can resolve image structures that remain unresolved by conventional (incoherent) fluorescence microscopy. We provide images of 190 nm beads revealing resolution beyond the diffraction limit and slightly increased object distances. An analytical model is introduced that accounts for the observed effects and which is confirmed by numerical simulations. Our approach may be a route to fast, label-free, super-resolution imaging in live-cell microscopy.

© 2013 Optical Society of America

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