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A compact instrument for adjusting laser beams to be accurately coincident and coaxial and its use in biomedical imaging using wave-mixed laser sources

Amor, R and Norris, G and Dempster, J and Amos, W B and McConnell, G (2012) A compact instrument for adjusting laser beams to be accurately coincident and coaxial and its use in biomedical imaging using wave-mixed laser sources. Review of Scientific Instruments, 83 (8). ISSN 0034-6748

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Abstract

Biomedical imaging applications that involve nonlinear optical processes such as sum-frequency generation (SFG) and four-wave mixing require that the pulses are synchronized in time and the beams are coaxial to better than 400 μrad. For this reason, folding mirrors are normally used to extend the beam path over a few meters so that detectors can be put into the beams to check their overlap at the start of a long path and also at the end of it. We have made a portable instrument with a footprint of only 22 cm × 11 cm × 16 cm that uses a short focal length lens and a telephoto combination for viewing the near-field and far-field simultaneously. Our instrument is simple to build and use, and we show its application in coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering microscopy and SFG-based two-photon fluorescence microscopy.