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Optimal illumination pattern for transport-of-intensity quantitative phase microscopy

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posted on 2023-11-30, 06:10 authored by Jiaji Li, Qian Chen, Jiasong Sun, Jialin Zhang, Xiangpeng Pan, Chao Zuo
The transport-of-intensity equation (TIE) is a well-established non-interferometric phase retrieval approach, which enables quantitative phase imaging (QPI) of transparent sample simply by measuring the intensities at multiple axially displaced planes. Nevertheless, it still suffers from two fundamentally limitations. First, it is quite susceptible to low-frequency errors (such as \cloudy" artifacts), which results from the poor contrast of the phase transfer function (PTF) near the zero frequency. Second, the reconstructed phase tends to blur under spatially low-coherent illumination, especially when the defocus distance is beyond the near Fresnel region. Recent studies have shown that the shape of the illumination aperture has a significant impact on the resolution and phase reconstruction quality, and by simply replacing the conventional circular illumination aperture with an annular one, these two limitations can be addressed, or at least significantly alleviated. However, the annular aperture was previously empirically designed based on intuitive criteria related to the shape of PTF, which does not guarantee optimality. In this work, we optimize the illumination pattern to maximize TIE's performance based on a combined quantitative criterion for evaluating the \goodness" of an aperture. In order to make the size of the solution search space tractable, we restrict our attention to binary coded axis-symmetric illumination patterns only, which are easier to implement and can generate isotropic TIE PTFs. We test the obtained optimal illumination by imaging both a phase resolution target and HeLa cells based on a small-pitch LED array, suggesting superior performance over other suboptimal patterns in terms of both signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and spatial resolution.

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