Effects of spatial coherence in diffraction phase microscopy

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Quantitative phase imaging systems using white light illumination can exhibit lower noise figures than laser-based systems. However, they can also suffer from object-dependent artifacts, such as halos, which prevent accurate reconstruction of the surface topography. In this work, we show that white light diffraction phase microscopy using a standard halogen lamp can produce accurate height maps of even the most challenging structures provided that there is proper spatial filtering at: 1) the condenser to ensure adequate spatial coherence and 2) the output Fourier plane to produce a uniform reference beam. We explain that these object-dependent artifacts are a high-pass filtering phenomenon, establish design guidelines to reduce the artifacts, and then apply these guidelines to eliminate the halo effect. Since a spatially incoherent source requires significant spatial filtering, the irradiance is lower and proportionally longer exposure times are needed. To circumvent this tradeoff, we demonstrate that a supercontinuum laser, due to its high radiance, can provide accurate measurements with reduced exposure times, allowing for fast dynamic measurements.

Tae Woo Kim Graduate Research Assistant Electrical and Computer Engineering Quantitative Light Imaging Laboratory 4053 Beckman Institute University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign tkim44@illinois.edu