Adaptive optics in digital micromirror based confocal microscopy

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Abstract

This proceeding reports early results in the development of a new technique for adaptive optics in confocal microscopy. The term adaptive optics refers to the branch of optics in which an active element in the optical system is used to correct inhomogeneities in the media through which light propagates. In its most classical form, mostly used in astronomical imaging, adaptive optics is achieved through a closed loop in which the actuators of a deformable mirror are driven by a wavefront sensor. This approach is severely limited in fluorescence microscopy, as the use of a wavefront sensor requires the presence of a bright, point like source in the field of view, a condition rarely satisfied in microscopy samples. Previously reported approaches to adaptive optics in fluorescence microscopy are therefore limited to the inclusion of fluorescent microspheres in the sample, to use as bright stars for wavefront sensors, or time consuming sensorless optimization procedures, requiring several seconds of optimization before the acquisition of a single image.

We propose an alternative approach to the problem, implementing sensorless adaptive optics in a Programmable array microscope. A programmable array microscope is a microscope based on a digital micromirror device, in which the single elements of the micromirror act both as point sources and pinholes.

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