Abstract

Wide field-of-view imaging of fast processes in a microscope requires high light intensities motivating the use of lasers as light sources. However, due to their long spatial coherence length, lasers are inappropriate for such applications, as they produce coherent noise and parasitic reflections, such as speckle, degrading image quality. Therefore, we provide a step-by-step guide for constructing a speckle-free and high-contrast laser illumination setup using a rotating ground glass diffuser driven by a stepper motor. The setup is easy to build, cheap, and allows a significant light throughput of 48%, which is 40% higher in comparison to a single lens collector commonly used in reported setups. This is achieved by using only one objective to collect the scattered light from the ground glass diffuser. We validate our setup in terms of image quality, speckle contrast, motor-induced vibrations, and light throughput. To highlight the latter, we record Brownian motion of micro-particles using a 100× oil immersion objective and a high-speed camera operating at 2000 Hz with a laser output power of only 22 mW. Moreover, by reducing the objective magnification to 50×, sampling rates up to 10,000 Hz are realized. To help readers with basic or advanced optics knowledge realize this setup, we provide a full component list, 3D-printing CAD files, setup protocol, and the code for running the stepper motor.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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