Mechanism for improving the signal-to-noise ratio in scanning optical microscopes

Tom D. Milster, Edwin P. Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We demonstrate an improved signal-to-noise ratio in a scanning optical microscope used to read out information from a magneto-optical data storage layer. By placing a shading band in the return path of the optical system we can reduce noise by as much as 3 dB in certain spatial frequency ranges. The signal-to-noise ratio improvement arises from differences in the signal and noise distributions in the pupil of the optical system. Although the experimental results are shown only in one dimension, the concept is applicable to two-dimensional scanning of low-contrast samples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1304-1306
Number of pages3
JournalOptics letters
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 15 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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