We propose a straightforward implementation of two-photon image scanning microscopy (2PE-ISM) that, by leveraging our recently introduced single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD) array detector and a novel blind image reconstruction algorithm is shown to dramatically improve the optical resolution of two-photon imaging, in various test samples. We show how our computational ISM approach is able to adapt to changing imaging conditions, thus ensuring optimal image quality. We also show how our recently introduced blind deconvolution approaches can be integrated into the image reconstruction workflow to further improve the image quality.
Stimulated emission depletion (STED) microscopy is a powerful bioimaging technique that theoretically provides molecular spatial resolution while preserving the most important assets of fluorescence microscopy. When combined with two-photon excitation (2PE) microscopy (2PE-STED), subdiffraction resolution may be achieved for thick biological samples. The most straightforward implementation of 2PE-STED microscopy entails introduction of an STED beam operating in continuous wave (CW) into a conventional Ti:sapphire-based 2PE microscope (2PE CW-STED). In this implementation, resolution enhancement is typically achieved using time-gated detection schemes, often resulting in drastic signal-to-noise/-background ratio (SNR/SBR) reductions. Herein, we employ a pixel-by-pixel phasor approach to discard fluorescence photons lacking super-resolution information to enhance image SNR/SBR in 2PE CW-STED microscopy. We compare this separation of photons by lifetime tuning approach against other postprocessing algorithms and combine it with image deconvolution to further optimize image quality.
If a scanning illumination spot is combined with a detector array, we acquire a 4 dimensional signal. Unlike confocal microscopy with a small pinhole, we detect all the light from the object, which is particularly important for fluorescence microscopy, when the signal is weak. The image signal is basically a cross-correlation, and is highly redundant. It has more than sufficient information to reconstruct an improved resolution image. A 2D image can be generated from the measured signal by pixel reassignment. The result is improved resolution and signal strength, the system being called image scanning microscopy. A variety of different signal processing techniques can be used to predict the reassignment and deconvolve the partial images. We use an innovative single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD) array detector of 25 detectors (arranged into a 5× 5 matrix). We can simultaneously acquire 25 partial images and process to calculate the final reconstruction online.
Stimulated emission depletion (STED) microscopy is a powerful bio-imaging technique since it provides molecular spatial resolution whilst preserving the most important assets of fluorescence microscopy. When combined with twophoton excitation (2PE) microscopy (2PE-STED), the sub-diffraction imaging ability of STED microscopy can be achieved also on thick biological samples. The most straightforward implementation of 2PE-STED microscopy is obtained by introducing a STED beam operating in continuous wave (CW) into a conventional Ti:Sapphire based 2PE microscope (2PE-CW-STED). In this implementation, an effective resolution enhancement is mainly obtained implementing a time-gated detection scheme, which however can drastically reduce the signal-to-noise/background ratio of the final image. Herein, we combine the lifetime tuning (SPLIT) approach with 2PE-CW-STED to overcome this limitation. The SPLIT approach is employed to discard fluorescence photons lacking super-resolution information, by means of a pixel-by-pixel phasor approach. Combining the SPLIT approach with image deconvolution further optimizes the signal-to-noise/background ratio.
There are basically two types of microscope, which we call conventional and scanning. The former type is a full-field imaging system. In the latter type, the object is illuminated with a probe beam, and a signal detected. We can generalize the probe to a patterned illumination. Similarly we can generalize the detection to a patterned detection. Combining these we get a range of different modalities: confocal microscopy, structured illumination (with full-field imaging), spinning disk (with multiple illumination points), and so on. The combination allows the spatial frequency bandwidth of the system to be doubled. In general we can record a four dimensional (4D) image of a 2D object (or a 6D image from a 3D object, using an acoustic tuneable lens). The optimum way to directly reconstruct the resulting image is by image scanning microscopy (ISM). But the 4D image is highly redundant, so deconvolution-based approaches are also relevant.
ISM can be performed in fluorescence, bright field or interference microscopy. Several different implementations have been described, with associated advantages and disadvantages. In two-photon microscopy, the illumination and detection point spread functions are very different. This is also the case when using pupil filters or when there is a large Stokes shift.
In a stimulated emission depletion (STED) microscope the region from which a fluorophore can spontaneously emit shrinks with the continued STED beam action after the excitation event. This fact has been recently used to implement a versatile, simple and cheap STED microscope that uses a pulsed excitation beam, a STED beam running in continuous-wave (CW) and a time-gated detection: By collecting only the delayed (with respect to the excitation events) fluorescence, the STED beam intensity needed for obtaining a certain spatial resolution strongly reduces, which is fundamental to increase live cell imaging compatibility. This new STED microscopy implementation, namely gated CW-STED, is in essence limited (only) by the reduction of the signal associated with the time-gated detection. Here we show the recent advances in gated CW-STED microscopy and related methods. We show that the time-gated detection can be substituted by more efficient computational methods when the arrival-times of all fluorescence photons are provided.