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Title: Background-free imaging of chemical bonds by a simple and robust frequency-modulated stimulated Raman scattering microscopy

Being able to image chemical bonds with high sensitivity and speed, stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) microscopy has made a major impact in biomedical optics. However, it is well known that the standard SRS microscopy suffers from various backgrounds, limiting the achievable contrast, quantification and sensitivity. While many frequency-modulation (FM) SRS schemes have been demonstrated to retrieve the sharp vibrational contrast, they often require customized laser systems and/or complicated laser pulse shaping or introduce additional noise, thereby hindering wide adoption. Herein we report a simple but robust strategy for FM-SRS microscopy based on a popular commercial laser system and regular optics. Harnessing self-phase modulation induced self-balanced spectral splitting of picosecond Stokes beam propagating in standard single-mode silica fibers, a high-performance FM-SRS system is constructed without introducing any additional signal noise. Our strategy enables adaptive spectral resolution for background-free SRS imaging of Raman modes with different linewidths. The generality of our method is demonstrated on a variety of Raman modes with effective suppressing of backgrounds including non-resonant cross phase modulation and electronic background from two-photon absorption or pump-probe process. As such, our method is promising to be adopted by the SRS microscopy community for background-free chemical imaging.

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Optics Express
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Article No. 15663
1094-4087; OPEXFF
Optical Society of America
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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