Super-Resolution Imaging

Axial super-resolution evanescent wave tomography



Optical tomographic reconstruction of a three-dimensional (3D) nanoscale specimen is hindered by the axial diffraction limit, which is 2–3 times worse than the focal plane resolution. We propose and experimentally demonstrate an axial super-resolution evanescent wave tomography method that enables the use of regular evanescent wave microscopes like the total internal reflection fluorescence microscope beyond surface imaging and achieve a tomographic reconstruction with axial super-resolution. Our proposed method based on Fourier reconstruction achieves axial super-resolution by extracting information from multiple sets of 3D fluorescence images when the sample is illuminated by an evanescent wave. We propose a procedure to extract super-resolution features from the incremental penetration of an evanescent wave and support our theory by one-dimensional (along the optical axis) and 3D simulations. We validate our claims by experimentally demonstrating tomographic reconstruction of microtubules in HeLa cells with an axial resolution of ∼130  nm. Our method does not require any additional optical components or sample preparation. The proposed method can be combined with focal plane super-resolution techniques like stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy and can also be adapted for THz and microwave near-field tomography.


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