Journal of Biomedical Optics • Open AccessSinglet gradient index lens for deep in vivo multiphoton microscopy
Micro-optical probes, including gradient index (GRIN) lenses and microprisms, have expanded the range of in vivo multiphoton microscopy to reach previously inaccessible deep brain structures such as deep cortical layers and the underlying hippocampus in mice. Yet imaging with GRIN lenses has been fundamentally limited by large amounts of spherical aberration and the need to construct compound lenses that limit the field-of-view. Here, we demonstrate the use of 0.5-mm-diameter, 1.7-mm-long GRIN lens singlets with 0.6 numerical aperture in conjunction with a cover glass and a conventional microscope objective correction collar to balance spherical aberrations. The resulting system achieves a lateral resolution of 618 nm and an axial resolution of 5.5 μm, compared to lateral and axial resolutions of ∼ 1 μm and ∼ 15 μm, respectively, for compound GRIN lenses of similar diameter. Furthermore, the GRIN lens singlets display fields-of-view in excess of 150 μm, compared with a few tens of microns for compound GRIN lenses. The GRIN lens/cover glass combination presented here is easy to assemble and inexpensive enough for use as a disposable device, enabling ready adoption by the neuroscience community.