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Stimulated emission depletion (STED) microscopes, like all super-resolution methods, are sensitive to aberrations. Of particular importance are aberrations that affect the quality of the depletion focus, which requires a point of near-zero intensity surrounded by strong illumination. We present analysis, modeling, and experimental measurements that show the effects of coma aberrations on depletion patterns of two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) STED configurations. Specifically, we find that identical coma aberrations create focal shifts in opposite directions in 2D and 3D STED. This phenomenon could affect the precision of microscopic measurements and has ramifications for the efficacy of combined 2D/3D STED systems.

Original publication




Journal article


Opt Lett

Publication Date





3631 - 3634