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Exploration of the optimisation algorithms used in the implementation of adaptive optics in confocal and multiphoton microscopy

Wright, Amanda and Burns, David and Patterson, B.A. and Poland, S. and Valentine, G.J. and Girkin, J. (2005) Exploration of the optimisation algorithms used in the implementation of adaptive optics in confocal and multiphoton microscopy. Microscopy Research and Technique, 67 (1). pp. 36-44. ISSN 1059-910X

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Abstract

We report on the introduction of active optical elements into confocal and multiphoton microscopes in order to reduce the sample-induced aberration. Using a flexible membrane mirror as the active element, the beam entering the rear of the microscope objective is altered to produce the smallest point spread function once it is brought to a focus inside the sample. The conventional approach to adaptive optics, commonly used in astronomy, is to utilise a wavefront sensor to determine the required mirror shape. We have developed a technique that uses optimisation algorithms to improve the returned signal without the use of a wavefront sensor. We have investigated a number of possible optimisation methods, covering hill climbing, genetic algorithms, and more random search methods. The system has demonstrated a significant enhancement in the axial resolution of a confocal microscope when imaging at depth within a sample. We discuss the trade-offs of the various approaches adopted, comparing speed with resolution enhancement.