KEYWORDS: Signal to noise ratio, Detection and tracking algorithms, Data modeling, Imaging systems, Cameras, Sensors, Electrons, Estimation theory, Interferometry, Phase interferometry, Phase imaging, Signal processing
Sensitivity is a critical index to measure the temporal fluctuation of the retrieved optical pathlength in quantitative phase imaging system. However, an accurate and comprehensive analysis for sensitivity evaluation is still lacking in current literature. In particular, previous theoretical studies for fundamental sensitivity based on Gaussian noise models are not applicable to modern cameras and detectors, which are dominated by shot noise. In this paper, we derive two shot noiselimited theoretical sensitivities, Cramér-Rao bound and algorithmic sensitivity for wavelength shifting interferometry, which is a major category of on-axis interferometry techniques in quantitative phase imaging. Based on the derivations, we show that the shot noise-limited model permits accurate estimation of theoretical sensitivities directly from measured data. These results can provide important insights into fundamental constraints in system performance and can be used to guide system design and optimization. The same concepts can be generalized to other quantitative phase imaging techniques as well.
A dual-modality birefringence/phase imaging system is presented. The system features a crystal retarder that provides polarization mixing and generates two interferometric carrier waves in a single signal spectrum. The retardation and orientation of sample birefringence can then be measured simultaneously based on spectral multiplexing interferometry. Further, with the addition of a Nomarski prism, the same setup can be used for quantitative differential interference contrast (DIC) imaging. Sample phase can then be obtained with two-dimensional integration. In addition, birefringence-induced phase error can be corrected using the birefringence data. This dual-modality approach is analyzed theoretically with Jones calculus and validated experimentally with malaria-infected red blood cells. The system generates not only corrected DIC and phase images, but a birefringence map that highlights the distribution of hemozoin crystals.
Holographic phase microscopy has seen rapid growth in the past two decades. Numerous schemes have been proposed and commercial products are now available. Since most systems are laser based, speckle noise and other non-signal interference in the system have been problematic, limiting the technique’s phase sensitivity, image quality and the ability for accurate quantitative analysis. Low coherence source-based HPM have also been proposed to mitigate this issue, but often with increased system complexity and reduced implementation flexibility.
Here, we demonstrate a swept-source HPM technique, which acquires on-axis holograms while continuously scanning the laser through a range of wavelengths. This technique is capable of identifying interference from various sources and effectively isolating sample interference, therefore minimizing unwanted signals and achieving high spatial and temporal sensitivity across the entire field of view. The ability of acquiring spectral interferogram for each pixel also make it possible to implement spectral shaping, which can further suppress interference side-lobes and improve sensitivity. Additionally, when coupled with a spectral modulation technique, such interference spectrum will permit spectroscopic measurement of phase-related properties of the sample. We will introduce the principle of the system, discuss its theoretical sensitivity bound, and present its application to phase imaging of live cells.
Digital holographic phase microscopy is a well-established quantitative phase imaging technique. However, interference artifacts from inside the system, typically induced by elements whose optical thickness are within the source coherence length, limit the imaging quality as well as sensitivity. In this paper, a swept laser source based technique is presented. Spectra acquired at a number of wavelengths, after Fourier Transform, can be used to identify the sources of the interference artifacts. With proper tuning of the optical pathlength difference between sample and reference arms, it is possible to avoid these artifacts and achieve sensitivity below 0.3nm. Performance of the proposed technique is examined in live cell imaging.