Video Talk by Kurt Thorn: The Abbe Diffraction Experiment

February 13, 2017

This lecture describes the famous experiments of Ernst Abbe which showed how diffraction of light by a specimen (and interference with the illuminating light) gives rise to an image and how collection of diffracted light defines the resolution of the microscope. These concepts are demonstrated by using a diffraction grating as a specimen and visualizing and comparing the diffraction pattern in the back focal plane as well as the image in the image plane.

YouTube video by iBioEducation

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iBiology's ( was developed to bring the best biology to people throughout the world for free. Started in 2006 by University of California, San Francisco and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, Professor Ron Vale, iBiology has grown to include over 300 seminars and short talks by the world’s leading scientists. Our collection includes talks by many Nobel Laureates and members of the United States National Academy of Sciences. In 2013, we released our first full-length course in Light Microscopy and expanded the educational resources we offer. iBiology is funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, and the Lasker Foundation. iBiology has also partnered with the European Molecular Biology Organization, European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Lasker Foundation, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, each of which film speakers for us at their studios. iBiology is based in San Francisco, CA.