Quasi-non-diffracting static light sheets generated by multiple slit interference mask
Ultrathin non-diffracting light sheets (LS) are crucial for light sheet fluorescence microscopy to provide near-diffraction-limited resolutions over a large field of view. Non-diffracting beams such as Bessel or Airy beams generate semi-uniform LSs that feature wide span ranges but often come with strong sidelobes or increased thickness; moreover, they require scanning, extensive adjustments, and are costly. Through computer simulations, we show here that it is possible to generate quasi-non-diffracting static LSs in a simple and efficient fashion. This is achieved by placing a multiple slit interference mask (MSIM) on a cylindrical lens. Compared with the previously reported aperiodic mask, OMCM, our periodic mask generates LSs that exhibit improved overall optical performance. Extended potential applications for the novel LSs include laser micromachining and microparticle image velocimetry.