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. <p> </p>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.