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  • Optimization of the Interplay of Optical Components for Aberration free Microscopy

    Optical microscopes are used to magnify objects which are otherwise invisible for the human eye. For this purpose high quality optics is necessary to achieve appropriate resolution. However, besides intentional effects, all optical components have also unwanted intrinsic influence on light, resulting in aberrations. This article highlights optical elements and their physical parameters involved in this process. Based on this, it gives a historical overview of philosophies about how to cope with aberration reduction. Seeing the microscope as a whole system turned out to be beneficial, leading to the harmonization of its constituents for optimal microscopic results.
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  • Factors to Consider When Selecting a Research Microscope

    An optical microscope is often one of the central devices in a life-science research lab. It can be used for various applications which shed light on many scientific questions. Thereby the configuration and features of the microscope are crucial for its application coverage, ranging from brightfield through fluorescence microscopy to live-cell imaging. This article provides a brief overview of the relevant microscope features and wraps up the key questions one should consider when selecting a research microscope.
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  • Infinity Optical Systems

    “Infinity Optics” refers to the concept of a beam path with parallel rays between the objective and the tube lens of a microscope. Flat optical components can be brought into this “Infinity Space” without influencing image formation, which is critical for the utilization of contrast methods such as DIC or fluorescence. Modern microscopy techniques require the addition of multiple optical instruments, such as light sources or laser devices, into the infinite light path. Different approaches to fulfill this need have emerged and are described here.
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  • Confocal and Digital Light Sheet Imaging

    Optical imaging instrumentation can magnify tiny objects, zoom in on distant stars and reveal details that are invisible to the naked eye. But it notoriously suffers from an annoying problem: the limited depth of field. Our eye-lens (an optical imaging instrument) has the same trouble, but our brain smartly removes all not-in-focus information before the signal reaches conscious cognition.
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  • Video Talk by Jeff Lichtman: Point Spread Function

    An infinitesimally small point appears in the microscope as a spot with a certain size, blurred in the z-direction and with concentric rings around it. This "point spread function" reveals many of the optical properties of your microscope. This lecture explains why and how the microscope images a point as a point spread function.
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  • Beam Splitting

    Fluorescence Microscopy usually employs incident light illumination. This requires a device that directs the light for illumination into the sample and transmits the light emitted by the sample to the detection system. In the past, various types of mirrors were the only option. Today, the acousto optical beam splitter serves best for the task.
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  • Confocal Excitation

    Fluorescence excitation needs specifically colored light. In confocal microscopy, multiline lasers or laser batteries are classically used. This requires devices that pick the requested lines fitting the currently employed fluorochromes. Intensity control is a second task that must be accomplished.
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  • Confocal Microscopy

    “Confocal Microscopy” refers to a particular optical microscope that allows recording optical sections. Optical sectioning is achieved in a confocal system by illuminating and observing a single diffraction limited spot.
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