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Opt Express. 2009 Aug 31;17(18):16100-10. doi: 10.1364/OE.17.016100.

A STED microscope aligned by design.

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Department of NanoBiophotonics, Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Am Fassberg 11, 37077 Göttingen, Germany.


STED microscopes are commonly built using separate optical paths for the excitation and the STED beam. As a result, the beams must be co-aligned and can be subject to mechanical drift. Here, we present a single-path STED microscope whose beams are aligned by design and hence is insensitive to mechanical drift. The design of a phase plate is described which selectively modulates the STED beam but leaves the excitation beam unaffected. The performance of the single-beam setup is on par with previous dual-beam designs.

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