Highly efficient multicolor multifocus microscopy by optimal design of diffraction binary gratings.
Multifocus microscopy (MFM) allows sensitive and fast three-dimensional imaging. It relies on the efficient design of diffraction phase gratings yielding homogeneous intensities in desired diffraction orders. Such performances are however guaranteed only for a specific wavelength. Here, we discuss a novel approach for designing binary phase gratings with dual color properties and improved diffraction efficiency for MFM. We simulate binary diffraction gratings with tunable phase shifts to explore its best diffraction performances. We report the design and fabrication of a binary array generator of 3 × 3 equal-intensity diffraction orders with 74% efficiency, 95% uniformity and dual color capability. The multicolor properties of this new design are highlighted by two-color MFM imaging. Finally, we discuss the basics of extending this approach to a variety of diffraction pattern designs.