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Resolution of 90 nm (λ/5) in an optical transmission microscope with an annular condenser

Optics Lett. 31, 2855-2857
Vainrub, A.Pustovyy, O.Vodyanoy, V. Department of Anatomy,
Physiology and Pharmacology,
College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University, USA
2006 Physics

Resolution of 90 nm was achieved with a research microscope simply by replacing the standard bright-field condenser with a homebuilt illumination system with a cardioid annular condenser. Diffraction gratings with 100 nm width lines as well as less than 100 nm size features of different-shaped objects were clearly visible on a calibrated microscope test slide.

The resolution increase results from a known narrower diffraction pattern in coherent illumination for the annular aperture compared with the circular aperture. This explanation is supported by an excellent accord of calculated and measured diffraction patterns for a 50 nm radius disk.

The article was published in: Optics Letters, Nr. 31, 2855-2857.

Full article

This work was supported (in part) by the Fetzer Franklin Fund of the John E. Fetzer Memorial Trust.