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Enhancing image quality in cleared tissue with adaptive optics

Abstract

Our ability to see fine detail at depth in tissues is limited by scattering and other refractive characteristics of the tissue. For fixed tissue, we can limit scattering with a variety of clearing protocols. This allows us to see deeper but not necessarily clearer. Refractive aberrations caused by the bulk index of refraction of the tissue and its variations continue to limit our ability to see fine detail. Refractive aberrations are made up of spherical and other Zernike modes, which can be significant at depth. Spherical aberration that is common across the imaging field can be corrected using an objective correcting collar, although this can require manual intervention. Other aberrations may vary across the imaging field and can only be effectively corrected using adaptive optics. Adaptive optics can also correct other aberrations simultaneously with the spherical aberration, eliminating manual intervention and speeding imaging. We use an adaptive optics two-photon microscope to examine the impact of the spherical and higher order aberrations on imaging and contrast the effect of compensating only for spherical aberration against compensating for the first 22 Zernike aberrations in two tissue types. Increase in image intensity by 1.6×1.6× and reduction of root mean square error by 3×3× are demonstrated.

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