We study the effects of primary spherical aberration on the three-dimensional point spread function (PSF) of the two-color (two-photon) excitation (2CE) (2PE) fluorescence microscope with two confocal excitation beams that are separated by an angle θ. The two excitation wavelengths λ<sub>1</sub> and λ<sub>2</sub> are related to the single-photon excitation wavelength λ<sub><i>e</i></sub> by: 1/λ<sub><i>e</i></sub> = 1/λ<sub>1</sub> + 1/λ<sub>2</sub>. The general case is considered where both focused beams independently suffer from spherical aberration. For θ = 0, π/2, and π, the resulting deterioration of the PSF structure is evaluated for different values of the spherical aberration coefficients via the Linfoot’s criteria of fidelity, structural content, and correlation quality. The corresponding degradation of the peak 2CE fluorescence intensity is also determined. Our findings are compared with that of the 2PE fluorescence (λ<sub>1</sub> = λ<sub>2</sub>) under the same aberration conditions. We found that the 2CE microscope is more robust against spherical aberration than its 2PE counterpart, with the π/2 configuration providing the clearest advantage. The prospect of aberration correction in the two-beam 2CE microscope is also discussed.
© 2003 Optical Society of America
(080.1010) Geometric optics : Aberrations (global)
(180.1790) Microscopy : Confocal microscopy
(180.2520) Microscopy : Fluorescence microscopy
(190.4180) Nonlinear optics : Multiphoton processes
May Lim and Caesar Saloma, "Primary Spherical Aberration in Two-Color (Two-Photon) Excitation Fluorescence Microscopy with Two Confocal Excitation Beams," Appl. Opt. 42, 3398-3406 (2003)