Take the 2-minute tour ×
Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Quite a technical question!

I have measured the Point Spread Function of 100nm fluorescent breads with my Olympus scanning head. I'm two-photon exciting the beads with a wavelength of 800nm and focused in the sample with a 100x with N.A.: 1.4

The theory suggests me the resolution of such a system to be: $$d=\frac{0.7\cdot\lambda}{N.A.}\approx 400nm$$

Now that value should be equal (with at most a 18% correction) to the FWHM of the 2D gaussian I obtain on the image.

But from my analysis of the images I obtain a FWHM close to 2um. Now surely the formula is for an ideal optical setup but a factor five seems to me quite strange! Is that possible to obtain such a result, in the case of very not ideal optical elements, or should I look for some sort of problem with the acquisition sw that tells me the pixel dimension of the images?

share|improve this question

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

I've found the solution to my problem. First of all, I had a factor 2 discrepancy due to the pixel dimension and, more important from an optical point of view, the laser beam was underfilling the entrance pupil of the objective. This means the focusing was worse!

share|improve this answer

You have many things which can go wrong when you try to go down to the wavelength limit, without resorting to Very not ideal optical element : non-Gaussian beam, wrong wavelength, spherical aberration, etc. I fear there is no easy answer to your question.

share|improve this answer
no well, if someone else tells me he obtained a result similar (factor 5) i will be satisfied.. cause i've never really take a measurements like this and i don't know if it is normal or i have some technical problem in the analysis.. thx –  Steve Nov 17 '10 at 10:20

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.