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  • In the Catacombs of the Capuchin Monastery in Palermo

    It has always been a deeply rooted human need to give life a meaning after death. At the end of the 16th century, the friars of the Capuchin monastery in Palermo, Italy, began preserving corpses by embalming them.
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  • Stereo microscopes with TripleBeam Technology

    Especially in fluorescence microscopy, excitation light is friend and foe in one. On the one hand, energy-rich excitation via a specific light wavelength of the fluorochrome resulting in a bright positive fluorochrome signal is highly welcome. On the other hand, "noise" caused by reflections of excitation light passing through the surfaces of optical elements needs to be extremely slight to generate a perfect black background. This relation is described as "signal-to-noise ratio", which is highly relevant for differentiating optically between fluorescence positive and negative cells.
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  • Unmask the Hidden without Probes: CARS

    Fluorescence microscopy assumed a pivotal role in cell biology once it was possible to stain cell components selectively by fluorescing dyes. One of the first explorers of targeted stainings, Paul Ehrlich, had the idea that something that stains specifically should also kill specifically – which was associated with the term “magic bullet”, the essential idea of chemotherapy. His group discovered Salvarsan, a tailored drug against syphilis – though not specific enough not to cause substantial side effects. Screening many fluorescent dyes led to a long list of stainings which are used in histology, including dyes like DAPI or hematoxylin and eosin.
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  • Every Clue Counts – Forensics Inconceivable Without Microscopy

    There is no crime without clues. They may be obvious, like a cartridge case at the scene of the crime or clear signs of crowbar damage on a door. But sometimes, clues are microscopically small. Besides the classic fingerprints, perpetrators also leave hairs or fiber traces.
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  • STED and GSDIM: Diffraction Unlimited Resolution for all Types of Fluorescence Imaging

    This article gives an overview of two different types of superresolution techniques. Stimulated emission depletion (STED) microscopy is a versatile and fast method that is based on point scanning microscopy – usually an extension of a confocal microscope. Ground state depletion imaging (GSDIM) is a parallel recording widefield approach that explores inherent switching of fluorochromes and typically comes with a TIRF microscope. The two methods use very different approaches to reach the same goal: to see more details in light microscopes than possible when diffraction limited.
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  • The White Confocal – Spectral Gaps Closed

    This article summarizes the development and differences in design and functionality of confocal technology as far as spectral properties are concerned, from classical filter-based excitation and emission color selection to fully flexible spectral excitation and emission tuning. All three major components: light source with excitation color selection, beam splitting for incident illumination and detector emission filtering have been completely transformed.
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  • Detectors for Sensitive Detection: HyD

    This article discusses detectors (more precisely: sensors), that are employed in single point, i.e. true confocal scanning microscopes. The sensors in such systems are usually photomultiplier tubes. Also, the silicon pendants of PMTs are used for particular applications, especially single-molecule measurements. A new development has led to chimeric devices called hybrid detector (HyD) which unite benefits of both technologies.
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  • The White Confocal

    Modern biomedical research is currently dominated by imaging and measuring with optical microscopes. One branch of the microscopy technology is confocal microscopy. For correlation purposes, multiparameter fluorescence imaging is particularly of unique interest. This article is concerned with the spectral performance of the various modules in a confocal point-scanning microscope ("True Confocal System"), and how these modules have evolved to allow for tunability and flexibility in excitation and emission collection in multiple bands (channels).
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  • Molecular Developmental Biology: Norwegian Marine Research Scientists Solve the Mysteries of Evolution

    The human nervous system is an infinitely complex network consisting of some 100 billions of neurons. It is the result of many-faceted evolutionary processes spanning millions of years which, like the development of other organ systems, have been little researched so far.
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  • Webinar: From Live Cell Imaging to Super-Resolution

    The beauty of cells, magnified and resolved by light microscopy, has been fascinating investigators since the 19th century. Today, functional research in living cells is often a prerequisite for biological studies. And keeping the cells close to the necessary conditions whilst under microscopical observation is key. In this webinar, Dr. Christoph Bauer will share his experiences of live cell imaging and talk about how the microscopy challenges, such as optical aberrations at 37°C or focus drift in long-term experiments, can be addressed.
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  • A Word on Cathodoluminescence

    Cathodoluminescence microanalysis is an emerging technique that is fast gaining popularity in the world of materials science. CL is a light emission phenomena resulting from the electron beam excitation of a luminescent material.
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  • Gates Open for Improved Confocal Fluorescence and Super-Resolution STED

    True confocal microscope systems feature single-point illumination and single-point detection. The method is called "optical sectioning" since the generated image contains only information from the focal plane. The serial detection offers highly efficient and low-noise sensors for signal conversion. Although the nonparallel detection is not conducive to high-speed imaging, modern scanning concepts allow frame rates above 400 frames per second at reasonable noise levels. This is by far enough for most applications, including the monitoring of fast ion-transport phenomena in living material.
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  • Widefield Calcium Imaging with Calcium Indicator Fura2

    In eukaryotic cells Ca2+ is one of the most widespread second messengers used in signal transduction pathways. Intracellular levels of Ca2+ are usually kept low, as Ca2+ often forms insoluble complexes with phosphorylated and carboxylated compounds. Typically cytosolic Ca2+ concentrations are in the range of 100 nM. In response to stimuli Ca2+ may either be released from external medium or internal stores to raise the Ca2+ concentration.
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  • 100 Years of Binoculars and Quantitative Microscopy

    One hundred years ago, in 1913, the Optische Werke Ernst Leitz in Wetzlar, predecessor of Leica Microsystems CMS GmbH, made two inventions that were to blaze the trail for modern microscopy: the binocular tube and the integrating stage for quantitative microscopy.
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  • Brief Introduction to Critical Point Drying

    One of the uses of the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) is in the study of surface morphology in biological applications which requires the preservation of the surface details of a specimen. Samples for Electron Microscopy (EM) imaging need to be dried in order to be compatible with the vacuum in the microscope. The presence of water molecules will disturb the vacuum and with it the imaging.
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  • The Principles of Polarization Contrast

    Polarization contrast microscopy is a convenient way to make birefringent crystalline structures like starch grains or cellulose visible without staining. This tutorial will explain the optical elements in the light path and the operating mode of polarization contrast taking the example of an inverted and motorized high-end research light microscope which can be used for transmitted light contrasting methods and fluorescence microscopy.
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  • 50 Years of Image Analysis

    Modern image analysis systems perform highly sophisticated image processing functions on images from an automated microscope and digital camera. 50 years ago, the first image analysis system was analogue, based on a video camera and the area measurements could be read from a meter. Nevertheless, it marked the beginning of automation in this field.
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  • Tips & Tricks for Using Digital Microscopes

    Digital microscopes provide new opportunities and enhance workflow for measurement and documentation in quality control in 2D and 3D applications. Here, you can find a collection of videos showing set-up tips and tricks for optimal image acquisition. Learn about the use of the zoom lens, the BGA lens, the 360° rotary head, the inclinable stand and the installation of a camera.
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  • Optogenetics

    Optogenetics is a technique that allows light-controlled responses of transfected cells. The cells are genetically modified by introduction of genes that code for light-induced channels or ion pumps. The term optogenetics denotes the light control feature introduced by genetic engineering.
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  • Webinar: Digital Metallographic and Quality-Control Advancements to Help Increase Efficiency

    Doing more with fewer resources is today’s standard, and the metallurgical/quality-control laboratory is no exception. Digitizing the metallurgical laboratory provides software tools that increase overall efficiency and accuracy of microstructure evaluation in accordance with ASTM and ISO standards, automate the generation of quality reports, and provide a structured interface for archiving images and related data. This webinar will provide a comprehensive overview of how these digital tools can help optimize workflow and save time and money.
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  • Digital Microscopy

    Digital microscopy offers clear advantages for a large number of industrial quality inspections, particularly for surface analysis. Here, you can find some videos that show examples of application for digital microscopy.
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  • Webinar: Discover the Next Generation of Confocal – A Platform to Perform to the Highest Level, Whatever Level you Start at

    Leica Microsystems recently introduced their next generation of confocal, the Leica TCS SP8 – a truly configurable platform that allows you to create your confocal exactly as you need it. As your scientific research develops further, so you need a system that evolves, adapts and reconfigures. What you discover today will be the foundation of your discoveries tomorrow.
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  • Trends in Microscopy

    There are digital cameras, digital TV sets, digital picture frames, digital schools on the internet. Cryptologists design digital signatures, communication researchers speak of digital identity. Digital may be an overused buzzword, but digital technology has undeniably revolutionized our world ever since the invention of the computer and will continue to do so in future.
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  • 3D Visualization of Surface Structures

    One of the main features of a digital microscope is the speed and ease with which it enables surface models to be created of macroscopic and microscopic structures. In a qualitative evaluation, these provide a better understanding and a more detailed documentation of the specimen. In addition, quantification of the surface provides valuable information about the composition of the surface and its wear. Which specimens are suitable for use with a Leica digital microscope, and what are the limitations of the method used?
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  • Even Insect Fragments Throw Light on How Crimes Are Committed: How Forensic Biologist Dr. Mark Benecke Gains Insights

    Many people know Germany’s most famous forensic biologist, Dr. Mark Benecke from Cologne, from TV documentaries showing how crimes are solved. Benecke is a welcome guest on talk shows on topics such as forensic trace analysis, murder or the depths of the human psyche in general. He also enjoys an excellent international reputation. However, Mark Benecke’s normal working day bears little resemblance to the scenes shown in TV crime drama series.
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