Three-dimensional confocal fluorescence imaging of in vivo tissues is challenging due to sample motion and limited imaging speeds. In this paper a novel method is therefore presented for scanning confocal epi-fluorescence microscopy with instantaneous depth-sensing based on self-interference fluorescence microscopy (SIFM). A tabletop epi-fluorescence SIFM setup was constructed with an annular phase plate in the emission path to create a spectral self-interference signal that is phase-dependent on the axial position of a fluorescent sample. A Mach-Zehnder interferometer based on a 3 × 3 fiber-coupler was developed for a sensitive phase analysis of the SIFM signal with three photon-counter detectors instead of a spectrometer. The Mach-Zehnder interferometer created three intensity signals that alternately oscillated as a function of the SIFM spectral phase and therefore encoded directly for the axial sample position. Controlled axial translation of fluorescent microsphere layers showed a linear dependence of the SIFM spectral phase with sample depth over axial image ranges of 500 µm and 80 µm (3.9 × Rayleigh range) for 4 × and 10 × microscope objectives respectively. In addition, SIFM was in good agreement with optical coherence tomography depth measurements on a sample with indocyanine green dye filled capillaries placed at multiple depths. High-resolution SIFM imaging applications are demonstrated for fluorescence angiography on a dye-filled capillary blood vessel phantom and for autofluorescence imaging on an ex vivo fly eye.
|Number of pages||22|
|Publication status||Published - 20 Mar 2017|