Abstract

Modern microscopes are designed with functionalities that are tailored to enhance image contrast. Dark-field imaging, phase contrast, differential interference contrast, and other optical techniques enable biological cells and other phase-only objects to be visualized. Quantitative phase imaging refers to an emerging set of techniques that allow for the complex transmission function of the sample to be measured. With this quantitative phase image available, any optical technique can then be simulated; it is trivial to generate a phase contrast image or a differential interference contrast image. Rheinberg illumination, proposed almost a century ago, is an optical technique that applies color contrast to images of phase-only objects by introducing a type of optical staining via an amplitude filter placed in the illumination path that consists of two or more colors. In this paper, the complete theory of Rheinberg illumination is derived, from which an algorithm is proposed that can digitally simulate the technique. Results are shown for a number of quantitative phase images of diatom cells obtained via digital holographic microscopy. The results clearly demonstrate the potential of the technique for label-free color staining of subcellular features.

© 2019 Optical Society of America

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