Beyond the lateral resolution limit by phase imaging

Y. Cotte*, M. Fatih Toy, C. Depeursinge

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


We present a theory stating how to overcome the classical Rayleigh-resolution limit. It is based upon a new resolution criterion in phase of coherent imaging process and its spatial resolution is thought to be only SNR limited. Recently, the experimental observation of systematically occurring phase singularities in coherent imaging of sub-Rayleigh distanced objects has been reported.1 The phase resolution criterion relies on the unique occurrence of phase singularities. A priori, coherent imaging system's resolution can be extended to Abbe's limit.2 However, by introducing a known phase difference, the lateral as well as the longitudinal resolution can be tremendously enlarged. The experimental setup is based on Digital Holographic Microscopy (DHM), an interferometric method providing access to the complex wave front. In off-axis transmission configuration, sub-wavelength nano-metric holes on a metallic film acts as the customized high-resolution test target. The nano-metric apertures are drilled with focused ion beam (FIB) and controlled by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). In this manner, Rayleighs classical two-point resolution condition can be rebuilt by interfering complex fields emanated from multiple single circular apertures on an opaque metallic film. By introducing different offset phases, enhanced resolution is demonstrated. Furthermore, the measurements can be exploited analytically or within the post processing of sampling a synthetic complex transfer function (CTF).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThree-Dimensional and Multidimensional Microscopy
Subtitle of host publicationImage Acquisition and Processing XVIII
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes
EventThree-Dimensional and Multidimensional Microscopy: Image Acquisition and Processing XVIII - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: Jan 24 2011Jan 27 2011

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


OtherThree-Dimensional and Multidimensional Microscopy: Image Acquisition and Processing XVIII
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco, CA


  • Digital holography
  • Microscopy
  • Phase imaging
  • Phase vortices
  • Point spread function
  • Super-resolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Biomaterials


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