We present two novel optical methods to achieve a significative improvement in the optical-sectioning capacity of confocal scanning microscopes. The techniques, whose real power is the simplicity with which they can be implemented, consist of a suitable combination of symmetrical defocusing with two different manners of apodizing both parts of the confocal architecture. It is shown that the proposed techniques are useful in both the bright-field and the fluorescence modes and for reflection and transmission geometries.
© 1998 Optical Society of America
Manuel Martínez-Corral, Marek Kowalczyk, Carlos J. Zapata-Rodríguez, and Pedro Andrés, "Tunable Optical Sectioning in Confocal Microscopy by use of Symmetrical Defocusing and Apodization," Appl. Opt. 37, 6914-6921 (1998)