Recently developed spatial light modulator (SLM)-based differential interference contrast (DIC) microscopy [Opt. Lett. 34, 2988 (2009)] reveals flexibility on the implementation of DIC imaging. However, its numerical aperture (spatial resolution) is limited to maintain sufficient interference contrast, because it requires two beams to interfere. We present a structured illumination (SI) SLM-based DIC microscopy to effectively improve the lateral resolution of the SLM-based DIC microscopy. The SI field is generated and controlled by an adjustable grating displayed on an SLM. The SI SLM-based DIC expands the bandwidth of the coherent transfer function of the SLM-based DIC imaging system, thus improving the spatial resolution. The reconstructed SI SLM-based DIC image exhibits lateral resolution of approximately 208 nm, doubling that of the common SLM-based DIC image (approximately 415 nm). SI SLM-based DIC microscopy has the potential for achieving high-resolution quantitative phase images.
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