Performance evaluation of extended depth of field microscopy in the presence of spherical aberration and noise


Effectiveness of extended depth of field microscopy (EDFM) implementation with wavefront encoding methods is reduced by depth-induced spherical aberration (SA) due to reliance of this approach on a defined point spread function (PSF). Evaluation of the engineered PSF's robustness to SA, when a specific phase mask design is used, is presented in terms of the final restored image quality. Synthetic intermediate images were generated using selected generalized cubic and cubic phase mask designs. Experimental intermediate images were acquired using the same phase mask designs projected from a liquid crystal spatial light modulator. Intermediate images were restored using the penalized space-invariant expectation maximization and the regularized linear least squares algorithms. In the presence of depth-induced SA, systems characterized by radially symmetric PSFs, coupled with model-based computational methods, achieve microscope imaging performance with fewer deviations in structural fidelity (e.g., artifacts) in simulation and experiment and 50% more accurate positioning of 1-μm beads at 10-μm depth in simulation than those with radially asymmetric PSFs. Despite a drop in the signal-to-noise ratio after processing, EDFM is shown to achieve the conventional resolution limit when a model-based reconstruction algorithm with appropriate regularization is used. These trends are also found in images of fixed fluorescently labeled brine shrimp, not adjacent to the coverslip, and fluorescently labeled mitochondria in live cells.

Publication Title

Journal of Biomedical Optics