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Microscopy Basics

Basic knowledge in optics and contrasting methods is fundamental for microscopic imaging. The precise setup of an optical microscope including correct Koehler illumination improves image quality – the base for further image analysis. Within light microscopy we differentiate between stained and unstained samples influencing the amplitude and the phase of the light waves traversing the sample. For the human eye, differences in the amplitude are visible as brightness differences. Contrasting methods like phase contrast, modulation contrast, differential interference contrast, often used in living samples, convert phase shifts into intensity. Staining and fluorescence techniques, like immunofluorescence or the use of fluorescent proteins, are used to make selected structures or proteins visible. Thus, to optimize the use of a microscope it is reasonable to learn more about its basic characteristics.

Interactive Tutorials

Useful Links

Communities and Web Sources network for scientists tools, video lectures on biology and microscopy

bitesizebio.comOnline magazine and community for molecular and cell biology researchers

www.somersault1824.comResource for high-end scientific illustrations, images and animations

Search Engines and Data Bases

www.cellimagelibrary.orgPublic resource database of images, videos, and animations of cells meta search engine for genes and proteins

www.gopubmed.comSearch interface for pubmed of academic databases and search engines of Google's search engine for scientific article abstracts

Journals of open access journals

www.lifescied.orgCBE-Life Sciences Education – an ASCB online journal publication of exceptional research articles of Cell Science Journal of Experimental Biology Disease Models & Mechanisms Journal of Life Science Methods of Journals and Proceedings in Optics and Photonics - peer-reviewed journals on applied research in optics and photonics of Biophotonics, peer-reviewed, open-access, online publication B - the Royal Society's biological research journal Journal for microscopists and features on biomedical microscopy

Organizations / Institutes Society of America Microscopy Society Microscopical Society on microscopy for materials science; University of Cambridge, Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy American Society of Cell Biology company of biologists

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