A STED microscope aligned by design
Authors: Wildanger D, Bückers J, Westphal V, Hell SW, Kastrup L
CellNetworks People: Hell Stefan
Journal: Opt Express. 2009 Aug 31;17(18):16100-10. doi: 10.1364/OE.17.016100

STED microscopes are commonly built using separate optical paths for the excitation and the STED beam. As a result, the beams must be co-aligned and can be subject to mechanical drift. Here, we present a single-path STED microscope whose beams are aligned by design and hence is insensitive to mechanical drift. The design of a phase plate is described which selectively modulates the STED beam but leaves the excitation beam unaffected. The performance of the single-beam setup is on par with previous dual-beam designs.