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Selective corneal imaging using combined second-harmonic generation and two-photon excited fluorescence.


A multiphoton microscope employing second-harmonic generation (SHG) and two-photon excited fluorescence (TPF) is used for high-resolution ex vivo imaging of rabbit cornea in a backscattering geometry. Endogenous TPF and SHG signals from corneal cells and extracellular matrix, respectively, are clearly visible without exogenous dyes. Spectral characterization of these upconverted signals provides confirmation of the structural origin of both TPF and SHG, and spectral imaging facilitates the separation of keratocyte and epithelial cells from the collagen-rich corneal stroma. The polarization dependence of collagen SHG is used to highlight fiber orientation, and three-dimensional SHG tomography reveals that approximately 88% of the stromal volume is occupied by collagen lamellae.

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