Optical microscopy suffers from a loss of resolving power when imaging targets are embedded in thick scattering media because of the dominance of strong multiple-scattered waves over waves scattered only a single time by the targets. Here, we present an approach that maintains full optical resolution when imaging deep within scattering media. We use both time-gated detection and spatial input-output correlation to identify those reflected waves that conserve in-plane momentum, which is a property of single-scattered waves. By implementing a superradiance-like collective accumulation of the single-scattered waves, we enhance the ratio of the single scattering signal to the multiple scattering background by more than three orders of magnitude. An imaging depth of 11.5 times the scattering mean free path is achieved with a near-diffraction-limited resolution of 1.5 μm. Our method of distinguishing single- from multiple-scattered waves will open new routes to deep-tissue imaging and studying the physics of the interaction of light with complex media.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics