Laser sources offer a possible solution to the problem of low light throughput in direct-view microscopes (DVMs). However, coherent source DVMs have been shown to suffer from problems such as increased sidelobes in the depth response because of coherent cross talk between neighboring apertures. We explore theoretically how source coherence affects the depth responses of DVMs by employing various aperture spacings and number of apertures. We show that, contrary to expectation, closely spaced apertures can result in decreased full width at half-maximum of the depth response curve. We explain this as an effect of destructive interference when cross talk between neighboring apertures occurs. Using apertures arranged in a square grid as an example, we move on to show that the use of aperture arrays that consist of regularly arranged apertures can accentuate the problematic sidelobes of the depth response. We show that arranging pinholes in a rectangular grid rather than a square grid can improve the optical sectioning strength significantly. Finally, by examination of the depth responses corresponding to the infinite-pinhole-array limit, we make some general statements about source coherence and the characteristics of arrays that are likely to perform well.
© 2002 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: July 31, 2001
Revised Manuscript: December 6, 2001
Manuscript Accepted: December 6, 2001
Published: July 1, 2002
Cian M. Taylor and Eithne M. McCabe, "Effects of source coherence and aperture array geometry on optical sectioning strength in direct-view microscopy," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 19, 1406-1416 (2002)