Optimising superoscillatory spots for far-field super-resolution imaging

Rogers, Katrine S.; Bourdakos, Konstantinos N.; Yuan, Guang Hui; Mahajan, Sumeet and Rogers, Edward T. F. (2018). Optimising superoscillatory spots for far-field super-resolution imaging. Optics Express, 26(7) pp. 8095–8112.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1364/OE.26.008095


Optical superoscillatory imaging, allowing unlabelled far-field super-resolution, has in recent years become reality. Instruments have been built and their super-resolution imaging capabilities demonstrated. The question is no longer whether this can be done, but how well: what resolution is practically achievable? Numerous works have optimised various particular features of superoscillatory spots, but in order to probe the limits of superoscillatory imaging we need to simultaneously optimise all the important spot features: those that define the resolution of the system. We simultaneously optimise spot size and its intensity relative to the sidebands for various fields of view, giving a set of best compromises for use in different imaging scenarios. Our technique uses the circular prolate spheroidal wave functions as a basis set on the field of view, and the optimal combination of these, representing the optimal spot, is found using a multi-objective genetic algorithm. We then introduce a less computationally demanding approach suitable for real-time use in the laboratory which, crucially, allows independent control of spot size and field of view. Imaging simulations demonstrate the resolution achievable with these spots. We show a three-order-of-magnitude improvement in the efficiency of focusing to achieve the same resolution as previously reported results, or a 26 % increase in resolution for the same efficiency of focusing.

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