Abstract

Three-dimensional quantitative phase imaging (3D QPI) is widely recognized as a potentially high-impact microscopic modality. Central to determining the resolution capability of 3D QPI is the phase optical transfer function (POTF). The magnitude of the POTF over its spatial frequency coverage (SFC) specifies the intensity of the response for each allowed spatial frequency. In this paper, a detailed analysis of the POTF for an axially symmetric optical configuration is presented. First, a useful geometric interpretation of the SFC, which enables its visualization, is presented. Second, a closed-form 1D integral expression is derived for the POTF in the general nonparaxial case, which enables rapid calculation of the POTF. Third, this formulation is applied to disk, annular, multi-annuli, and Gaussian illuminations as well as to an annular objective. Taken together, these contributions enable the visualization and simplified calculation of the 3D axially symmetric POTF and provide a basis for optimizing QPI in a wide range of applications.

© 2020 Optical Society of America

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