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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Principles of Multiphoton Microscopy for Deep Tissue Imaging

    Basics of multiphoton microscopy. This interactive tutorial explains the principles of multiphoton microscopy for deep tissue imaging. Multiphoton microscopy uses excitation wavelengths in the infrared taking advantage of the reduced scattering of longer wavelengths. This makes multiphoton imaging the perfect tool for deep tissue imaging in thick sections and living animals.
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  • Sensors for True Confocal Scanning

    In this article, advantages and disadvantages of different types of sensors for single point true confocal scanning devices are discussed. Traditionally, photomultiplier tubes have been employed in such systems. For some cases, avalanche photodiodes have proven to fit best. A new development uniting vacuum and silicon technology has led to chimeric sensors, called hybrid detectors (HyD). They benefit from both technologies.
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  • Video Tutorial: How to Align the Bulb of a Fluorescence Lamp Housing

    The traditional light source for fluorescence excitation is a fluorescence lamp housing with mercury burner. A prerequisite for achieving bright and homogeneous excitation is the correct centering and alignment of the bulb inside the housing. This video tutorial presents an easy-to-copy way to align the mercury bulb in a fluorescence lamp housing.
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  • Video Tutorial: How to Change the Bulb of a Fluorescence Lamp Housing

    When applying fluorescence microscopy in biological applications, a lamp housing with mercury burner is the most common light source. This video tutorial shows how to change the bulb of a traditional fluorescence lamp housing.
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  • How a Fingerprint Is Traced to the Person Who Made It – Interactive Microscope System Facilitates Dactyloscopist Training

    “We have to take your fingerprints.” This sentence is spoken in nearly every TV crime drama to a suspect sitting in the interrogation room. But what exactly is it that makes a fingerprint so valuable for detectives in real life? How do fingerprint experts, known as dactyloscopists, perform their jobs?
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