Abstract

Previous papers about coherent scanning optical microscopes took into account two types of microscope: those with a point detector called type-II or confocal microscopes and those with an infinitely large area detector called type-I or conventional microscopes. Here the pinhole size of a type-II microscope was permitted to vary, and it is shown how the size could affect the imaging properties of a real microscope. The three-dimensional optical transfer function is established, and we discuss in particular the resolution capabilities, lateral as well as longitudinal, of a scanning microscope with a given pinhole size or detector area. Finally, a rigorous confocality criterion, which will answer the question of how small the pinhole should be made to give confocal imaging properties to a scanning microscope, is given.

© 1992 Optical Society of America

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