Microscopy

Microscopy is the technical field of using microscopes to view objects and areas of objects that cannot be seen with the naked eye (objects that are not within the resolution range of the normal eye).[1] There are three well-known branches of microscopy: optical, electron, and scanning probe microscopy, along with the emerging field of X-ray microscopy.

Scanning electron microscope image of pollen
Microscopic examination in a biochemical laboratory

Optical microscopy and electron microscopy involve the diffraction, reflection, or refraction of electromagnetic radiation/electron beams interacting with the specimen, and the collection of the scattered radiation or another signal in order to create an image. This process may be carried out by wide-field irradiation of the sample (for example standard light microscopy and transmission electron microscopy) or by scanning a fine beam over the sample (for example confocal laser scanning microscopy and scanning electron microscopy). Scanning probe microscopy involves the interaction of a scanning probe with the surface of the object of interest. The development of microscopy revolutionized biology, gave rise to the field of histology and so remains an essential technique in the life and physical sciences. X-ray microscopy is three-dimensional and non-destructive, allowing for repeated imaging of the same sample for in situ or 4D studies, and providing the ability to "see inside" the sample being studied before sacrificing it to higher resolution techniques. A 3D X-ray microscope uses the technique of computed tomography (microCT), rotating the sample 360 degrees and reconstructing the images. CT is typically carried out with a flat panel display. A 3D X-ray microscope employs a range of objectives, e.g., from 4X to 40X, and can also include a flat panel.


Share this article:

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Microscopy, and is written by contributors. Text is available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 International License; additional terms may apply. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.