New modal wave-front sensor: application to adaptive confocal fluorescence microscopy and two-photon excitation fluorescence microscopy

J. Opt. Soc. Am. A, Vol. 19, No. 10, October 2002, 2112-2120. M. J. Booth, M. A. A. Neil, & T. Wilson

Confocal and multiphoton microscopes are particularly sensitive to specimen- or system-induced aberrations,which result in decreased resolution and signal-to-noise ratio. The inclusion of an adaptive optics correctionsystem could help overcome this limitation and restore diffraction-limited performance, but such a system requires a suitable method of wave-front measurement. By extending the concept of a modal wave-front sensorpreviously described by Neil et al. [J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 17, 1098–1107 (2000)], we present a new sensor capableof measuring directly the Zernike aberration modes introduced by a specimen. This modal sensor is particularly suited to applications in three-dimensional microscopy because of its inherent axial selectivity; only thosewave fronts originating in the focal region contribute to the measured signal. Four wave-front sensor con-figurations are presented and their input response is characterized. Sensitivity matrices and axial responsesare presented.

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