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J Microsc. 2004 Sep;215(Pt 3):271-80.

Simulation of specimen-induced aberrations for objects with spherical and cylindrical symmetry.

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Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford, Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PJ, UK.


Wavefront aberrations caused by the refractive index structure of the specimen are known to compromise signal intensity and three-dimensional resolution in confocal and multiphoton microscopy. However, adaptive optics can measure and correct specimen-induced aberrations. For the design of an adaptive optics system, information on the type and amount of the aberration is required. We have previously described an interferometric set-up capable of measuring specimen-induced aberrations and a method for the extraction of the Zernike mode content. In this paper we have modelled specimen-induced aberrations caused by spherical and cylindrical objects using a ray tracing method. The Zernike mode content of the wavefronts was then extracted from the simulated wavefronts and compared with experimental results. Aberrations for a simple model of an oocyte cell consisting of two spherical regions and for a model of a well-characterized optical fibre are calculated. This simple model gave Zernike mode data that are in good agreement with experimental results.

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