Misalignment of the aperture diaphragm present in optical microscopes results in angular illumination asymmetry (ANILAS) at the sample plane. Here we show that through-focus propagation of ANILAS results in a lateral image shift with a focus position. This could lead to substantial errors in quantitative results for optical methods that use through-focus images such as three-dimensional nanoparticle tracking, confocal microscopy, and through-focus scanning optical microscopy (TSOM). A correlation exists between ANILAS and the slant in TSOM images. Hence, the slant in the TSOM image can be used to detect, analyze, and rectify the presence of ANILAS.
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