In a typical multiphoton microscope, the majority of the laser power from the near-IR pulsed source is thrown away in order to prevent photo-damage on biological samples. It is thus desirable to convert this wasted power into other wavelengths through nonlinear fiber optics to accommodate imaging modalities beyond conventional multiphoton microscopy. Here we present a prototypical source that accommodates the requirements for laser scanning confocal microscopy, fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy, stimulated emission microscopy, coherent anti-Stokes Raman microscopy/spectroscopy, transient absorption microscopy, and optical coherence tomography/microscopy. Such versatile source consists of dispersion-engineered photonic crystal fibers simultaneously pumped by a compact ~1040 nm ultrafast ytterbium laser.© (2010) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.