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Welcome to the Molecular Expressions Photo Gallery. Our portfolio of galleries contains thousands of full color photomicrographs (photographs taken through a microscope) and digital images selected from our many image collections.

It is very easy to view examples from any of our collections. Simply pick the button below that describes the collection of your interest, and you will link to a summary of that collection that includes information about the collection as well as several example photomicrographs.

Each of the small images within the individual collection discussions is actually a link to a larger version of the image. Point and click on the small image to see the larger copy.

After you have viewed the images in our Photo Gallery, we invite you to download our new Molecular Expressions Screen Saver for Windows. We have also expanded our on-line image collection to include a larger assortment of images than is presented here. Visit our Galleria, a gallery of photo galleries featuring individual collections such as our Pharmaceutical Collection and our very popular BeerShots and Cocktails collections. Many of these galleries offer individual screen savers containing images from the collections.

Purchase Nikon's Small World 2014 Calendar - The Nikon Small World 2014 Calendar is printed in full color on 8.5 x 11 semi-gloss paper and spiral bound for mounting on the wall. Included in the calendar are the top 20 prize winners and thumbnail images from all of the 15 honorable mentions. Winning entries included neurons, Quantum Dot crystals, plant tissues and fibers, cells in culture, recrystallized chemicals, animal tissue sections, a tapeworm, and several microscopic invertebrates. This year's contest drew entrants from over 50 countries, as well as from a diverse range of academic and professional disciplines. Winners came from such fields as chemistry, biology, materials research, botany, and biotechnology.

To view an exciting selection of silicon "doodles" left on computer chips by their designers, visit our popular Silicon Zoo gallery of photomicrographs. This collection of miniature artwork has been reviewed in national and international publications such as Science, Nature, Life, National Geographic, Newsweek, Scientific American, Discover, Forbes, Popular Science, Wired, Slash Dot, Stern, and the ever popular National Enquirer.

Virtual Scanning Electron Microscopy - (approximately a 30 second download on 28.8K modems) Check out our virtual Scanning Electron Microscope (vSEM). We have teamed up with award-winning electron microscopist Dennis Kunkel to produce this interactive vSEM. Visitors can adjust the focus, contrast, and magnification of microscopic creatures viewed at thousands of times their actual size.

Intel Play QX3 Computer Microscope Simulator - Explore how the hardware and software work together to produce images that you can digitally manipulate using this incredible interactive Java tutorial.

Nikon Small World Contest - The Nikon International Small World Competition is dedicated to furthering creativity and excellence in traditional and digital photography through the microscope. Combining these elements, a photomicrographer is able to capture an image of the world that the naked eye cannot see. Visit the galleries or enter the 2004 competition by uploading digital images to Nikon servers through your web browser.


AIDS Therapeutics - Some images of hope for this dreadful disease.

Amino Acids - The building blocks of proteins.

Antibiotics - Fungi are helping us kill bacteria.

Anticancer Agents - Good drugs for some bad diseases.

The Archaeology Collection - Ancient relics found in archeological digs.

Australia - Photomicrographs from the land downunder.

Beer (our favorite, too!) - See what some of your favorite beverages look like under the microscope.

Birthstones - Check out the beautiful minerals that make birthstones.

The Brain - Examine the intricate architecture of the brain as viewed through a fluorescence microscope.

Brightfield Microscopy Digital Image Gallery - Brightfield illumination has been one of the most widely used observation modes in optical microscopy for the past 300 years, and is best suited for utilization with fixed, stained specimens or other kinds of samples that naturally absorb significant amounts of visible light. This digital image gallery explores a variety of stained specimens captured with an Olympus BX51 microscope coupled to a 12-bit QImaging Retiga camera system.

Buckyballs - The newly discovered third form of naturally occurring carbon.

Burgers 'N Fries - Join us for a microscopic examination of America's culinary favorite: the ubiquitous hamburger and French fries.

Butterfly Wing Scale Digital Image Gallery - From a distance, butterfly wings are a beautiful sight to behold. Under a microscope, they are even more so.

Cell and Virus Structure - Explore the microscopic structure of animal and plant cells and their viruses.

Cells in Motion - In multicellular tissues, such as those found in animals and humans, individual cells employ a variety of locomotion mechanisms to maneuver through spaces in the extracellular matrix and over the surfaces of other cells. The digital videos presented in this gallery investigate animal cell motility patterns in a wide variety of morphologically different specimens. Requires the RealPlayer browser plug-in.

Chipshots - Surface features of integrated circuits.

Cholesterol - Beautiful shots of the artery-clogging steroid.

Cocktails - It's time for happy hour.

Computer Parts - Hard Disks, CD-ROMS, and other computer innards.

Confocal Microscopy Digital Image Gallery - Scroll through serial optical sections from a wide variety of specimens, including tissue culture cells, thin and thick sections, and entire organisms, in this Java-powered image gallery.

The Crime Collection - Items used in crimes and law enforcement.

Darkfield Microscopy Image Gallery - Darkfield illumination often provides good contrast for specimens that are lacking in sufficient detail using other illumination techniques.

Differential Interference Contrast Digital Image Gallery - Thin unstained, transparent specimens are excellent candidates for imaging with classical differential interference (DIC) microscopy techniques over a relatively narrow range (plus or minus one-quarter wavelength) of bias retardation. The digital images presented in this gallery represent a wide spectrum of specimens, which vary from unstained cells, tissues, and whole organisms to both lightly and heavily stained thin and thick sections.

Dinosaur Bones - Beautiful fossilized relics from these ancient reptiles.

DNA - Microscopic views of the primary genetic material in condensed states.

Digital Eclipse Image Gallery - We take the Nikon DXM 1200 camera system on a test drive to demonstrate the tremendous photomicrography potential available with this digital camera. Images were recorded using a wide spectrum of illumination techniques including brightfield, phase contrast, fluorescence, differential interference contrast (DIC), Hoffman modulation contrast, and polarized light.

Dyes - Essential materials of the textile and printing industries.

The Education Collection - Things you use in school.

Endorphins - Neural hormones for that all natural high.

Fatty Acids - A close-up view of these essential biochemicals.

Feathers - These masterfully-crafted structures allow birds to fly.

Featured Microscopist - The Molecular Expressions featured microscopist gallery contains image collections from some of the World's best photomicrographers.

Flavors - Chemicals used to make food taste good.

Fluorescence Digital Image Gallery - Fluorochromes make specimens glow in the dark.

Fluorescence Microscopy of Cells in Culture - Serious attempts at the culture of whole tissues and isolated cells were first undertaken in the early 1900s as a technique for investigating the behavior of animal cells in an isolated and highly controlled environment. The term tissue culture arose because most of the early cells were derived from primary tissue explants, a technique that dominated the field for over 50 years. As established cell lines emerged, the application of well-defined normal and transformed cells in biomedical investigations has become an important staple in the development of cellular and molecular biology. This fluorescence image gallery explores over 30 of the most common cell lines, labeled with a variety of fluorophores using both traditional staining methods as well as immunofluorescence techniques.

Fragrances - Things that make you smell good.

Hoffman Modulation Contrast Digital Image Gallery - Modulation contrast adds a pseudo three-dimensional effect to samples photographed under the microscope.

Hormones - See where many of your problems stem from.

Human Pathology Digital Image Gallery - The investigation of disease in humans has, understandably, been one of the primary focal points in medicine for thousands of years. The image gallery presented in this section attempts to illustrate, through use of the brightfield microscope, many of the pathological conditions that are readily observed in stained human specimens. Each image was chosen for artistic merit, photographic quality, and content. Note that several of the images in this gallery might not depict every aspect of the pathological condition under which they are catalogued.

Ice Cream - The Ben and Jerry's Collection.

Intel Play QX3 Computer Microscope Digital Image Galleries - Visit our galleries containing digital images from this incredible toy microscope after modification for enhanced brightfield, polarized light, darkfield, and Rheinberg illumination.

Liquid Crystals - The fourth state of matter.

Magnetic Thin Films - New technologies that provide more bytes.

Meteorites - Rocks from outer space.

Microscapes - Multiple-exposure micrographic landscapes.

Minerals - Essential salts.

Mitosis - The process whereby cells divide.

Moon Rocks - Remnants of the successful Apollo missions.

Neurotransmitters - Chemicals that allow your brain cells to communicate.

Nikon's Small World Gallery - For the past 28 years, Nikon has sponsored the Small World Competition, the world's foremost forum for recognizing excellence in photography through the microscope. This gallery features over 450 images produced by some of the best photomicrographers in the world.

The Nikon Fluorescence Microscopy Digital Image Gallery - The widefield reflected light fluorescence microscope has been a fundamental tool for the examination of fluorescently labeled cells and tissues since the introduction of the dichromatic mirror in the late 1940s. Furthermore, advances in synthetic fluorophore design coupled to the vast array of commercially available primary and secondary antibodies have provided the biologist with a powerful arsenal in which to probe the minute structural details of living organisms with this technique.

Nucleotides - Much more than simply building blocks for RNA and DNA.

Observing Mitosis with Fluorescence Microscopy - Mitosis, a phenomenon observed in all higher eukaryotes, is the mechanism that allows the nuclei of cells to split and provide each daughter cell with a complete set of chromosomes during cellular division.

The Ocean Spray Collection - Unique products from a unique company.

Olympus MIC-D Digital Microscope Image Galleries - The Olympus MIC-D digital microscope image galleries contain a wide spectrum of images representing all of the illumination techniques available with this unique instrument. Specimens include stained thin sections, whole mounts, thick sections, living pond creatures, insects, recrystallized chemicals, and integrated circuits. Imaging of specimens contained in the gallery was assisted by the various contrast-enhancing technology featured by the MIC-D, including brightfield, darkfield, oblique, polarized light and reflected illumination, and the galleries are arranged according to contrast technique.

Perovskites - The basis for high-temperature superconducting ceramics.

Pesticides - Drugs for Bugs.

Pharmaceuticals - Drugs for people.

Phase Contrast Digital Image Gallery - View a wide spectrum of specimens through phase contrast optics.

Phytochemicals - Drugs in the food we eat.

Plant Tissue Autofluorescence Gallery - Autofluorescence in plant tissues is a common and useful phenomenon arising from a variety of endogenous biomolecules that absorb light in many regions of the near-ultraviolet and visible light spectrum. One of the primary contributors of plant autofluorescence is chlorophyll, but lignins, carotenes, and xanthophylls also produce a significant level of fluorescence emission when stimulated with the proper wavelengths. This digital image gallery examines natural autofluorescence in plant tissue thin sections using multiple excitation wavelengths with laser scanning confocal microscopy.

Polarized Light Microscopy Digital Image Gallery - As a contrast-enhancing optical technique, polarized light microscopy is unsurpassed in the magnificent array of colors and beautiful textures generated through interference between orthogonal wavefronts at the analyzer. Visit this gallery to observe how polarized light can be of advantage in the observation of specimens that would otherwise exhibit poor contrast and be difficult to distinguish from the background.

Polymers - Very long-chain molecules.

Precious Metals and Gems - Diamonds are a girl's best friend.

Prostaglandins - Bioactive lipids.

Proteins - The molecules that make up cells and enzymes.

Radiolarians - Catch a glimpse of these tiny glass sea creatures, who rival in beauty the finest cut crystal creations.

Rat Brain Digital Image Gallery - The rat brain has served as an excellent model for elucidating the complex anatomy and physiological mechanisms of the human brain. As a result, a significant amount of information on brain diseases, such as dementia and Parkinson's disease, has been determined from investigations using rat brains. Brain tissue has been mapped into dozens of major and hundreds of minor regions that are anatomically and functionally distinct. Individual brain cells segregate into specialized areas by expressing a wide spectrum of specific housekeeping proteins, enzymes, transporters, and receptors. This digital image gallery explores many regions of the rat brain as observed with immunofluorescence in coronal, horizontal, and sagittal thick sections using laser scanning confocal microscopy.

The Religion Collection - From religions around the world.

Silicon Zoo - We've caged the creatures found on silicon computer chips.

Soap Bubbles - Fascinating interference patterns of light reflected from soap thin films.

Soft Drinks - Cool tools for a POP culture.

The Sports Collection - Football, baseball, and basketball - something for everyone.

Sugars - Pour some sugar on me.

Superconductors - A new revolution in the making.

Superlattices - Tomorrow's semiconductors today.

The Tree Collection - Examine digital images made from stained thin sections cut from a variety of tree species.

Vegetables - We're running the garden on the microscope.

The Virtual Rat - The humble rat has had an outsized impact on human history. In the Middle Ages, the black rat (Rattus rattus) was blamed for spreading the Black Plague through its fleas, a pandemic that killed a third of Europe's population, an estimated 34 million people. In modern times, however, a larger cousin, the Brown rat (Rattus norvegicus) has become an important model organism in biological research. Selective breeding of the Brown Rat has produced the albino laboratory rat. Explore the wonders of rat anatomy in this gallery of images produced with the microscope using rat tissues stained with a variety of fluorescent dyes.

Vitamins - Our favorite essentials.

Watch Pieces and Stems - Photomicrographs of watch movements and component parts.

Wine Collection - Is it red wine with fish or white wine with veal?

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