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Nat Commun. 2012 Jan 17;3:632. doi: 10.1038/ncomms1646.

Propagation stability of self-reconstructing Bessel beams enables contrast-enhanced imaging in thick media.

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Laboratory for Bio- and Nano-Photonics, Department of Microsystems Engineering, University of Freiburg, Georges-Koehler-Allee 102, Freiburg 79110, Germany.


Laser beams that can self-reconstruct their initial beam profile even in the presence of massive phase perturbations are able to propagate deeper into inhomogeneous media. This ability has crucial advantages for light sheet-based microscopy in thick media, such as cell clusters, embryos, skin or brain tissue or plants, as well as scattering synthetic materials. A ring system around the central intensity maximum of a Bessel beam enables its self-reconstruction, but at the same time illuminates out-of-focus regions and deteriorates image contrast. Here we present a detection method that minimizes the negative effect of the ring system. The beam's propagation stability along one straight line enables the use of a confocal line principle, resulting in a significant increase in image contrast. The axial resolution could be improved by nearly 100% relative to the standard light-sheet techniques using scanned Gaussian beams, while demonstrating self-reconstruction also for high propagation depths.


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