Developing Single-Laser Sources for Multimodal Coherent Anti-Stokes Raman Scattering Microscopy

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Pegoraro, Adrian Frank
CARS Microscopy , Nonlinear Optics , Optics
Coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (CARS) microscopy has developed rapidly and is opening the door to new types of experiments. This work describes the development of new laser sources for CARS microscopy and their use for different applications. It is specifically focused on multimodal nonlinear optical microscopy—the simultaneous combination of different imaging techniques. This allows us to address a diverse range of applications, such as the study of biomaterials, fluid inclusions, atherosclerosis, hepatitis C infection in cells, and ice formation in cells. For these applications new laser sources are developed that allow for practical multimodal imaging. For example, it is shown that using a single Ti:sapphire oscillator with a photonic crystal fiber, it is possible to develop a versatile multimodal imaging system using optimally chirped laser pulses. This system can perform simultaneous two photon excited fluorescence, second harmonic generation, and CARS microscopy. The versatility of the system is further demonstrated by showing that it is possible to probe different Raman modes using CARS microscopy simply by changing a time delay between the excitation beams. Using optimally chirped pulses also enables further simplification of the laser system required by using a single fiber laser combined with nonlinear optical fibers to perform effective multimodal imaging. While these sources are useful for practical multimodal imaging, it is believed that for further improvements in CARS microscopy sensitivity, new excitation schemes are necessary. This has led to the design of a new, high power, extended cavity oscillator that should be capable of implementing new excitation schemes for CARS microscopy as well as other techniques. Our interest in multimodal imaging has led us to other areas of research as well. For example, a fiber-coupling scheme for signal collection in the forward direction is demonstrated that allows for fluorescence lifetime imaging without significant temporal distortion. Also highlighted is an imaging artifact that is unique to CARS microscopy that can alter image interpretation, especially when using multimodal imaging. By combining expertise in nonlinear optics, laser development, fiber optics, and microscopy, we have developed systems and techniques that will be of benefit for multimodal CARS microscopy.
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