TitleSimple Experimental Methods for Determining the Apparent Focal Shift in a Microscope System.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsBratton, BP, Shaevitz, JW
JournalPLoS One
Date Published2015
KeywordsMicroscopy, Fluorescence, Models, Theoretical

Three-dimensional optical microscopy is often complicated by a refractive index mismatch between the sample and objective lens. This mismatch causes focal shift, a difference between sample motion and focal-plane motion, that hinders the accuracy of 3D reconstructions. We present two methods for measuring focal shift using fluorescent beads of different sizes and ring-stained fluorescent beads. These simple methods are applicable to most situations, including total internal reflection objectives and samples very close to the interface. For distances 0-1.5 μm into an aqueous environment, our 1.49-NA objective has a relative focal shift of 0.57 ± 0.02, significantly smaller than the simple n2/n1 approximation of 0.88. We also expand on a previous sub-critical angle theory by means of a simple polynomial extrapolation. We test the validity of this extrapolation by measuring the apparent focal shift in samples where the refractive index is between 1.33 and 1.45 and with objectives with numerical apertures between 1.25 and 1.49.

Alternate JournalPLoS ONE
PubMed ID26270960
PubMed Central IDPMC4536040
Grant ListP50 GM071508 / GM / NIGMS NIH HHS / United States