k-Microscopy: resolution beyond the diffraction limit
We present a novel Fourier domain method for microscopic imaging - so- called k-microscopy - with lateral resolution independent of the detection numerical aperture. The concept is based on sample illumination by a lateral fringe- pattern of varying spatial frequency, which probes the lateral spatial frequency or k- spectrum of the sample structure. The illumination pattern is realized by interference of two collimated coherent beams. Wavelength tuning is employed for modulation of the fringe spacing. The uniqueness of the proposed system is that a single point detector is sufficient to collect the total light corresponding to a particular position in the sample k- space. By shifting the phase of the interference pattern, we get full access to the complex frequencies. An inverse Fourier transformation of the acquired band in the frequency- or k-space will reconstruct the sample. The resulting lateral resolution will be defined by the temporal coherence length associated with the detected light source spectrum as well as by the illumination angle. The feasibility of the concept has been demonstrated in 1D.