Confocal and multiphoton microscopes are particularly sensitive to specimen- or system-induced aberrations, which result in decreased resolution and signal-to-noise ratio. The inclusion of an adaptive optics correction system could help overcome this limitation and restore diffraction-limited performance, but such a system requires a suitable method of wave-front measurement. By extending the concept of a modal wave-front sensor previously described by Neil <i>et al.</i> [J. Opt. Soc. Am. A <b>17</b>, 1098–1107 (2000)], we present a new sensor capable of measuring directly the Zernike aberration modes introduced by a specimen. This modal sensor is particularly suited to applications in three-dimensional microscopy because of its inherent axial selectivity; only those wave fronts originating in the focal region contribute to the measured signal. Four wave-front sensor configurations are presented and their input response is characterized. Sensitivity matrices and axial responses are presented.
© 2002 Optical Society of America
(010.1080) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Active or adaptive optics
(010.7350) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Wave-front sensing
(170.1790) Medical optics and biotechnology : Confocal microscopy
Martin J. Booth, Mark A. A. Neil, and Tony Wilson, "New modal wave-front sensor: application to adaptive confocal fluorescence microscopy and two-photon excitation fluorescence microscopy," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 19, 2112-2120 (2002)