OSA's Digital Library

Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: C. Martijn de Sterke
  • Vol. 19, Iss. 9 — Apr. 25, 2011
  • pp: 8011–8018

Imaging properties of supercritical angle fluorescence optics

Jörg Enderlein, Ingo Gregor, and Thomas Ruckstuhl  »View Author Affiliations

Optics Express, Vol. 19, Issue 9, pp. 8011-8018 (2011)

View Full Text Article

Enhanced HTML    Acrobat PDF (1043 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



In recent years, new optical systems have been developed with the ability to collect light at very high angles of emission, exceeding the critical angle of total internal reflection. Prominent examples are solid-immersion lenses and paraboloid collectors. These systems achieve high efficiencies in fluorescence detection which is an important issue for sensitive applications in analytical chemistry and biochemical assays. The exclusive collection of supercritical angle fluorescence (SAF) allows for the detection of evanescent modes and thus to confine the detection volume within one wavelength to an interface. For conventional optical systems with high numerical aperture a precise wave-optical theory of imaging was developed by Richards and Wolf in the fifties of the last century. However, their theory is not directly applicable to non-imaging, strongly aberratic light collection systems systems that collect a significant part of light above the critical angle. Here, we extend the theory to describe the optical properties of such systems.

© 2011 OSA

OCIS Codes
(260.2110) Physical optics : Electromagnetic optics
(300.6280) Spectroscopy : Spectroscopy, fluorescence and luminescence

ToC Category:

Original Manuscript: February 9, 2011
Revised Manuscript: February 10, 2011
Manuscript Accepted: March 24, 2011
Published: April 12, 2011

Virtual Issues
Vol. 6, Iss. 5 Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics

Jörg Enderlein, Ingo Gregor, and Thomas Ruckstuhl, "Imaging properties of supercritical angle fluorescence optics," Opt. Express 19, 8011-8018 (2011)

Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset  


  1. B. Richards and E. Wolf, “Electromagnetic diffraction in optical systems II. Structure of the image field in an aplanatic system,” Proc. Roy. Soc. London A 253, 358–379 (1959). [CrossRef]
  2. E. Wolf, “Electromagnetic diffraction in optical systems I. An integral representation of the image field,” Proc. Roy. Soc. London A 253349–357 (1959). [CrossRef]
  3. M. Born and E. Wolf, Principles of Optics , 6th ed. (Pergamon Press, 1987).
  4. T. Ruckstuhl and S. Seeger, “Confocal total-internal-reflection fluorescence microscopy with a high-aperture parabolic mirror lens,” Appl. Opt. 42, 3277–3283 (2003). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  5. S. M. Mansfield and G. S. Kino, “Solid immersion microscope,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 57, 2615–2616 (1990). [CrossRef]
  6. P. Török, P. R. Munro, and E. E. Kriezis, “Rigorous near- to far-field transformation for vectorial diffraction calculations and its numerical implementation,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 23, 713–722 (2006). [CrossRef]
  7. M. Foreman, R. Matthew, S. Sherif, P. R. T. Munro, and P. Török, “Inversion of the Debye–Wolf diffraction integral using an eigenfunction representation of the electric fields in the focal region,” Opt. Express 16, 4901–4917 (2008). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  8. P. Török, P. D. Higdon, and T. Wilson, “On the general properties of polarised light conventional and confocal microscopes,” Opt. Commun. 148, 300–315 (1998). [CrossRef]
  9. M. Leutenegger, R. Rao, R. Leitgeb, and T. Lasser, “Fast focus field calculations,” Opt. Express 14, 11277–11291 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  10. M. Leutenegger and T. Lasser, “Detection efficiency in total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy,” Opt. Express 16, 8519–8531 (2008). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  11. W. Lukosz and R. E. Kunz, “Light emission by magnetic and electric dipoles close to a plane interface II. Radiation patterns of perpendicular oriented dipoles,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. 67, 1615–1619 (1977). [CrossRef]
  12. W. Lukosz, “Light emission by magnetic and electric dipoles close to a plane interface III. Radiation patterns of dipoles with arbitrary orientation,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. 69, 1495–1503 (1979). [CrossRef]
  13. T. Ruckstuhl, J. Enderlein, S. Jung, and S. Seeger, “Forbidden light detection from single molecules,” Anal. Chem. 72, 2117–2123 (2000). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  14. J. Enderlein and T. Ruckstuhl, “The efficiency of surface-plasmon coupled emission for sensitive fluorescence detection,” Opt. Express 13, 8855–8865 (2005). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  15. E. M. Lifshitz, L. D. Landau, and L. P. Pitaevskii, Electrodynamics of Continuous Media: 8 (Course of Theoretical Physics) (Butterworth Heinemann, 1984), Chap. X.
  16. F. Goos and H. Hänchen, “Ein neuer und fundamentaler Versuch zur Totalreflexion,” Ann. Physik 436, 333–346 (1947). [CrossRef]
  17. T. Ruckstuhl and D. Verdes, “Supercritical angle fluorescence (SAF) microscopy,” Opt. Express 12, 4246–4254 (2004). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  18. J. Ries, T. Ruckstuhl, D. Verdes, and P. Schwille, “Supercritical angle fluorescence correlation spectroscopy,” Biophys. J. 94, 221–229 (2008). [CrossRef]
  19. M. Bhmer and J. Enderlein, “Orientation imaging of single molecules by wide-field epifluorescence microscopy,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 20, 554–559 (2003). [CrossRef]

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited