Microscopic imaging with a setup consisting of a pseudo-random phase mask, and an open CMOS camera, but without an imaging objective, is demonstrated. The pseudo random phase mask acts as a diffuser for an incoming laser beam, scattering a speckle pattern to a CMOS chip, which is recorded once, as a reference. A sample which is afterwards inserted somewhere in the optical beam path changes the speckle pattern. A single (non-iterative) image processing step, comparing the modified speckle pattern with the previously recorded one, generates a sharp image of the sample. After a first calibration the method works in real-time and allows quantitative imaging of complex (amplitude and phase) samples in an extended three-dimensional volume. Since no lenses are used, the method is free from lens aberrations. Compared to standard inline holography the diffuse sample illumination improves the axial sectioning capability by increasing the effective numerical aperture in the illumination path, and it suppresses the undesired twin images. For demonstration, a high resolution spatial light modulator (SLM) is programmed to act as the pseudo-random phase mask. We show experimental results, imaging microscopic biological samples, such as insects, within an extended volume at a distance of 15 cm with a transverse and longitudinal resolution of about 60 μm and 400 μm, respectively.
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