Beyond the lateral resolution limit by phase imaging

Yann Cotte*, M. Fatih Toy, Christian Depeursinge

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


We present a theory to extend the classical Abbe resolution limit by introducing a spatially varying phase into the illumination beam of a phase imaging system. It allows measuring lateral and axial distance differences between point sources to a higher accuracy than intensity imaging alone. Various proposals for experimental realization are debated. Concretely, the phase of point scatterers' interference is experimentally visualized by high numerical aperture (NA = 0.93) digital holographic microscopy combined with angular scanning. Proof-ofprinciple measurements are presented by using sub-wavelength nanometric holes on an opaque metallic film. In this manner, Rayleighs classical two-point resolution condition can be rebuilt. With different illumination phases, enhanced bandpass information content is demonstrated, and its spatial resolution is theoretically shown to be potentially signal-to-noise ratio limited.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106007
JournalJournal of biomedical optics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • 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
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials


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