A reflection phase microscope (RPM) can be equipped with the capability of depth selection by employing a gating mechanism. However, it is difficult to achieve an axial resolution close to the diffraction limit in real implementation. Here, we systematically investigated the uneven interference contrast produced by pupil transmittance of the objective lens and found that it was the main cause of the practical limit that prevents the axial resolution from reaching its diffraction limit. Then we modulated the power of illumination light to obtain a uniform interference contrast over the entire pupil. Consequently, we could achieve an axial resolution fairly close to the diffraction limit set by the experimental conditions.
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