From Adaptive Optics for Vision Science
10.3.1 Resolution Limits of Confocal Scanning Laser Imaging Systems
In a confocal scanning laser imaging system, the effective PSF is computed
as the product of the ingoing PSF with the convolution of the outgoing PSF
and the confocal aperture. When the confocal aperture approaches a size
equaling the radius of the Airy disk of the collection path of the system, the
effective PSF is simply the product of the ingoing and outgoing PSFs. Under
such conditions, the resolution is equally determined by the input PSF and
the outgoing PSF, and the lateral resolution can exceed that of conventional
imaging by about 40% [as assessed by the full width at half maximum
(FWHM) of the PSF]. If the confocal aperture is large, then image quality is
governed only by the ingoing PSF; effective optical sectioning disappears and
lateral resolution approaches that of conventional imaging systems.
Axial resolution in confocal SLOs can be defi ned and computed in several
ways. The standard way to determine axial resolution is to measure the
detected intensity that is recorded from a planar surface as a function of its
axial location from the focal plane of the SLO . The full width (axial
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