How new science is transforming the optical microscope

View How new science is transforming the optical microscope RS Amos

Presenter: Brad Amos

Published: November 2012

Age: 18-22 and upwards

Views: 820 views

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Type: Lectures

Source/institution: Royal Society

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There are two rules for making an optical microscope; the lenses must be small, since defects of colour and focus increase with lens size, and the lenses must capture light from the object over as wide an angle as possible to record fine detail. This was understood a century ago, however, lasers, computers and chemically-specific labels have produced an explosion of development recently.  To see molecular detail, a hundredfold improvement in resolution is needed, but has not yet been obtained. A new method will be described, which can show anatomy at the scale of micrometres and subcellular detail in the same image of a specimen such as a mouse embryo.  This is the first microscope system to disobey the ‘small lens’ rule.

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