Efficiency-enhanced and sidelobe-suppressed super-oscillatory lenses for sub-diffraction-limit fluorescence imaging with ultralong working distance†
Super-oscillatory lens (SOL) optical microscopy, behaving as a non-invasive and universal imaging technique, as well as being a simple post-processing procedure, may provide a potential application for sub-diffraction-limit fluorescence imaging. However, the low energy concentration, high-intensity sidelobes and micrometer-scale working distance of the reported planar SOLs impose unavoidable restrictions on the ground-state applications. Here, we demonstrate step-shaped SOLs based on the multiple-phase-modulated (MPM) method to improve the focusing efficiency. Two pivotal advantages are thus generated: (i) the fabrication complexity can be effectively reduced based on several conventional optical lithography steps; (ii) the focusing efficiency is much higher than that of the random MPM ones due to the efficient manipulation of the wavefronts, bringing about a stronger light concentration to the focal spot. Additionally, the ratio of the sidelobe intensity is flexibly tuned to meet the customized requirements, and a 2 mm-working-distance MPM SOL with the sidelobe intensity highly suppressed is finally exploited. For the first time, as far as we know, a SOL-based fluorescence microscopy without the pinhole filter to map the horizontal morphology of the dispersive fluorescent particles is established. Compared with the results achieved by the conventional wide-field microscopy, the sample details beating the diffraction limit can be reconstructed by simple imaging fusion. This research demonstrates the promising applications of SOLs for low-cost, simplified and highly customized sub-diffraction-limit fluorescence imaging systems free from photobleaching and an extremely short working distance.