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Appl Opt. 2012 Oct 10;51(29):6952-61. doi: 10.1364/AO.51.006952.

Dual-grating confocal-rainbow volume holographic imaging system designs for high depth resolution.

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College of Optical Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721, USA.


Confocal microscopy rejects out-of-focus light from the object by scanning a pinhole through the image and reconstructing the image point by point. Volume holographic imaging systems with bright-field illumination have been proposed as an alternative to conventional confocal-type microscopes that does not require scanning of a pinhole or a slit. However, due to wavelength-position degeneracy of the hologram, the high Bragg selectivity of the volume hologram is not utilized and system performance is not optimized. Confocal-rainbow illumination has been proposed as a means to remove the degeneracy and improve optical sectioning in these systems. In prior work, two versions of this system were illustrated: the first version had a separate illumination and imaging grating and the second used a single grating to disperse the incident light and to separate wavelengths in the imaging path. The initial illustration of the dual-grating system has limited depth resolution due to the low selectivity of the illumination grating. The initial illustration of the single-grating system has high depth resolution but does not allow optimization of the illumination path and requires high optical quality of the holographic filters. In this paper we consider the design and tolerance requirements of the dual-grating system for high depth resolution and demonstrate the results with an experimental system. An experimental system with two 1.8 mm thick planar holograms achieved a depth resolution of 7 μm with a field of view of 1.9 mm and a hologram dispersion matching tolerance of ±0.008°.

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