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12 February 2007 SIPcharts using uniform ultra-thin and thin layers for Z-response measurements in two-photon excitation fluorescence microscopy
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Layer-by-Layer or self-assembly techniques can be used to prepare Fluorescent polymer samples on glass coverslips serving as benchmark for two-photon excitation microscopy from conventional to 4Pi set-up, or more in general for sectioning microscopy. Layers can be realized as ultra-thin (<< 100 nm) or thin (approx. 100 nm) characteristics coupled to different fluorescent molecules to be used for different microscopy applications. As well, stacks hosting different fluorescent molecules can be also produce. Thanks to their controllable thickness, uniformity and fluorescence properties, these polymer layers may serve as a simple and applicable standard to directly measure the z-response of different scanning optical microscopes. In two-photon excitation microscopy z-sectioning plays a central role and uniformity of illumination is crucial due to the non-linear behaviour of emission. Since the main characteristics of a particular image formation situation can be efficiently summarized in a Sectioned Imaging property chart (SIPchart), we think that coupling this calibration sample with SIPchart is a very important step towards quantitative microscopy. In this work we use these polymer layers to measure the z-response of confocal, two-photon excitation and 4Pi laser scanning microscopes, selecting properly ultra-thin and thin layers. Due to their uniformity over a wide region, i.e. coverslip surface, it is possible to quantify the z-response of the system over a full field of view area. These samples are also useful for monitoring photobleaching behavior as function of the illumination intensity. Ultrathin layers are also useful to supersede the conventional technique of calculating the derivative of the axial edges of a thick fluorescent layer. Polymer layers can be effciently used for real time alignment of the microscope.
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G. Vicidomini, J. M. Zwier, P. Bianchini, F. Cella, E. Ronzitti, S. Krol, T. Szellas, G. F. Brakenhoff, and A. Diaspro "SIPcharts using uniform ultra-thin and thin layers for Z-response measurements in two-photon excitation fluorescence microscopy", Proc. SPIE 6442, Multiphoton Microscopy in the Biomedical Sciences VII, 644224 (12 February 2007);

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