Abstract

We show that various setups for optical microscopy which are commonly used in biomedical laboratories behave like efficient microscope condensers that are responsible for observed subwavelength resolution. We present a series of experiments and simulations that reveal how inclined illumination from such unexpected condensers occurs when the sample is perpendicularly illuminated by a microscope’s built-in white-light source. In addition, we demonstrate an inexpensive add-on optical module that serves as an efficient and lightweight microscope condenser. Using such add-on optical module in combination with a low-numerical-aperture objective lens and Fourier plane imaging microscopy technique, we demonstrate detection of photonic crystals with a period nearly eight times smaller than the Rayleigh resolution limit.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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