Optical microscopy has been an indispensable tool for studying complex biological systems, but is often hampered by problems of speed and complexity when performing 3D volumetric imaging. Here, we present a multifocus imaging strategy based on the use of a simple z-splitter prism that can be assembled from off-the-shelf components. Our technique enables a widefield image stack to be distributed onto a single camera and recorded simultaneously. We exploit the volumetric nature of our image acquisition by further introducing a novel extended-volume 3D deconvolution strategy to suppress far-out-of-focus fluorescence background to significantly improve the contrast of our recorded images, conferring to our system a capacity for quasi-optical sectioning. By swapping in different z-splitter configurations, we can prioritize high speed or large 3D field-of-view imaging depending on the application of interest. Moreover, our system can be readily applied to a variety of imaging modalities in addition to fluorescence, such as phase-contrast and darkfield imaging. Because of its simplicity, versatility, and performance, we believe our system will be a useful tool for general biological or biomedical imaging applications.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics