In a scanning (laser) optical microscope (SOM), the time-varying signals formed at a photodetector by a probe of focused laser light scanned across the object in the transmittance or reflectance mode, are made to form an image on a CRT in the fashion of a TV raster, in general, the image performance of SOM is equivalent to that of a conventional microscope. The special geometry and coherence of the probe, however, offer possibilities of improving its resolution even beyond the Rayleigh resolution limit by introduction of suitably placed coded apertures of small thickness just ahead of the object plane. Here we compare the performance of various coded apertures with reference to the effective resolution for coherent light with (1) uniform and (2) Gaussian spread in the transverse direction.

© 1984 Optical Society of America

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