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Ultrahigh-contrast imaging by temporally modulated stimulated emission depletion

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Abstract

Stimulated emission depletion (STED) is the key optical technology enabling super-resolution microscopy below the diffraction limit. Here, we demonstrate that modulation of STED in the time domain, combined with properly designed lock-in detection, can radically enhance the contrast of fluorescent images of strongly autofluorescent biotissues. In our experiments, the temporally modulated STED technique, implemented with low-intensity continuous-wave laser sources, is shown to provide an efficient all-optical suppression of a broadband fluorescent background, allowing the contrast of fluorescent images of mammal brain tissues tagged with nitrogen-vacancy diamond to be increased by five orders of magnitude.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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