Achieving a greater imaging depth with two-photon fluorescence microscopy (TPFM) is mainly limited by out-of-focus fluorescence generated from both ballistic and scattered light excitation. We report on an improved signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) in a highly scattering medium as demonstrated by analytical simulation and experiments for TPFM. Our technique is based on out-of-focus rejection using a confocal pinhole. We improved the SNR by introducing the pinhole in the collection beam path. Using the radiative transfer theory and the ray-optics approach, we analyzed the effects of different sizes of pinholes on the generation of the fluorescent signal in the TPFM system. The analytical simulation was evaluated by comparing its results with the experimental results in a scattering medium. In a combined confocal pinhole and two-photon microscopy system, the imaging depth limit of approximately 5 scattering mean free paths (MFP) was found to have improved to 6.2 MFP.
©2012 Optical Society of America
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