We investigate the imaging properties of high-aperture multifocal multiphoton microscopy on the basis of diffraction theory. Particular emphasis is placed on the relationship between the sectioning property and the distance between individual foci. Our results establish a relationship between the degree of parallelization and the axial resolution for both two- and three-photon excitation. In addition, we show quantitatively that if a matrix of temporal delays is inserted between the individual foci, it is, for the first time to our knowledge, possible to solve the classical conflict between the light budget and the sectioning property in three-dimensional microscopy and to provide a virtually unlimited density of foci at best axial resolution.
© 2000 Optical Society of America
(180.1790) Microscopy : Confocal microscopy
(180.6900) Microscopy : Three-dimensional microscopy
(190.4180) Nonlinear optics : Multiphoton processes
(320.7080) Ultrafast optics : Ultrafast devices
(350.5730) Other areas of optics : Resolution
Alexander Egner and Stefan W. Hell, "Time multiplexing and parallelization in multifocal multiphoton microscopy," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 17, 1192-1201 (2000)