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J Biomed Opt. 2006 Mar-Apr;11(2):020501.

Effect of pulse duration on two-photon excited fluorescence and second harmonic generation in nonlinear optical microscopy.


We have developed a multiphoton microscopy (MPM) system using a 12-fs Ti:sapphire laser with adjustable dispersion precompensation in order to examine the impact of pulse duration on nonlinear optical signals. The efficiencies of two-photon-excited fluorescence (TPEF) and second harmonic generation (SHG) were studied for various pulse durations, measured at the sample, ranging from approximately 400 fs to sub-20 fs. Both TPEF and SHG increased proportionally to the inverse of the pulse duration for the entire tested range. Because of improved signal-to-noise ratio, sub-20-fs pulses were used to enhance MPM imaging depth by approximately 160%, compared to 120-fs pulses, in human skin.

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