Many biological applications require a simultaneous observation of different anatomical features. However, unless potentially harmful staining of the specimens is employed, individual microscopy techniques do generally not provide multi-contrast capabilities. We present a hybrid microscope integrating optoacoustic microscopy and multiphoton microscopy, including second-harmonic generation, into a single device. This combined multiphoton and optoacoustic microscope (MPOM) offers visualization of a broad range of structures by employing different contrast mechanisms and at the same time enables pure label-free imaging of biological systems. We investigate the relative performance of the two microscopy modalities and demonstrate their multi-contrast abilities through the label-free imaging of a zebrafish larva ex vivo, simultaneously visualizing muscles and pigments. This hybrid microscopy application bears great potential for developmental biology studies, enabling more comprehensive information to be obtained from biological specimens without the necessity of staining.

© 2015 SPIE

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