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Optical Microscopy Resources on the Web

  We have attempted to provide a thorough and up-to-date comprehensive listing of the most prominent Web sites dealing with various aspects of microscopy and general science education. If you would like to have your site listed in our Web Resources section, please send us an email.  

General Resources - Links to general information about microscopy including some of the best microscopy sites on the Web.

Microscopy Resource Listings - We have prepared a compilation of Web sites that contain listings of other microscopy resources.

Microscopy History - From the first microscopes to the latest in contrast-enhancing techniques, phase contrast, darkfield, DIC, fluorescence, and laser confocal, these links provide references to background material about the history of microscopy.

Microscope and Optical Component Manufacturers - Ranging from the big four (Nikon, Olympus, Leica, and Zeiss) to smaller manufacturers and distributiors, the links in this section also include optical and electro-optical component and instrument marketers.

Digital Imaging - As solid-state CCD technology rapidly overtakes traditional film and camera techniques, the number of digital camera manufacturers is constantly expanding to meet the needs of the industry. The links provided in this section point to the important manufacturers, trade magazines, and technical support information.

Image Analysis and Processing - Advanced software for acquisition, processing, archiving, and retrieval of analog and digital images is available from a wide variety of manufacturers and distributors. This specialized software is designed to optimize image capture and to perform real-time analysis of both raw and enhanced digital images. Utilizing these advanced techniques, microscopists can examine and reveal fine specimen detail that is typically masked by artifacts and interference during acquisition.

Deconvolution in Optical Microscopy - Deconvolution is emerging as a powerful tool for high-resolution three-dimensional analysis of complex biological specimens. Assisting in the development of existing and new deconvolution techniques is a host of universities, research institutions, and commercial organizations. This section contains links to web resources on deconvolution analysis, including software packages, hardware (microscopes and accessories), and laboratories involved with the technology.

Virtual Microscopy - Although still in its infancy, virtual microscopy over the Web offers a tremendous potential as both a teaching and research tool. Visit these links to evaluate the microscopes that are in operation today.

Confocal Microscopy - Scanning laser confocal microscopy, a tool that has been extensively utilized for inspection of semiconductors, is now becoming a mainstream application in cell biology. The links provided in this section offer tutorials, instrumentation, application notes, technical support, glossaries, and reference materials on confocal microscopy and related techniques.

Fluorescence Filters - Fluorescence microscopy relies heavily on the ability to select a specific wavelength region for excitation of the specimen and gathering secondary emission during image formation. Recent advances in interference filter design have resulted in highly accurate filters that cover a wide range of bandpass profiles, ranging from just a few to tens and hundreds of nanometers. Listed below is a compilation of manufacturers that design, manufacture, and supply fluorescence filters to the microscopy community. The products that they offer will meet most system requirements, but if a specialized application necessitates a filter with an unusual spectral range or other unique specifications, many of the companies will fabricate custom filters.

Fluorescent Probes - Fluorescence is the property exhibited by many molecules of absorbing light at a particular wavelength and subsequently emitting light of longer wavelength after a brief interval in time. Some atoms and molecules fluoresce naturally, but others must be artificially altered or marked in some way to instigate the phenomenon. In confocal microscopy, fluorescent probes play a paramount role in the detection of anatomical structure and physiological reactions occurring in living cells. An extensive array of fluorescent probes are available from a number of distributors, the best of which have been compiled into the following list of Internet resources.

Fluorescent Protein Vector Commercial Sources - A variety of fluorescent proteins, available as recombinant DNA plasmid vectors designed for transfection of mammalian cells or transformation of bacteria, are commercially available from a number of distributors. Most of the vectors containing fluorescent protein DNA sequences have been codon-optimized for expression in mammalian cells and contain antibiotic genes for selection of stable mutants having relatively constant expression levels. The vectors often contain multiple cloning sequences that enable researchers to easily insert their gene of interest for fusion to the fluorescent protein. Other common features in fluorescent protein vectors include a human cytomegalovirus (CMV) promoter, a Kozak translation initiation site, an early mRNA polyadenylation signal, and a bacterial antibiotic gene.

Multiphoton Fluorescence Microscopy - Optical microscopy is virtually the only means by which living cells and tissues can be studied with high spatial resolution. This has recently led to a return of light microscopy to the frontlines of biological research, with confocal and multiphoton fluorescence applications leading the way. Listed in this section are links to resources on the web for multiphoton fluorescence microscopy including microscope and laser manufacturers, university laboratories, industrial imaging laboratories, technical white papers and tutorials.

Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence Microscopy - Listed in this section are links to resources on the web for information about total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy (TIRFM) including microscope manufacturers, university laboratories, industrial imaging laboratories, technical white papers and tutorials.

Laser Systems - At one time limited only to the subject matter of science fiction stories, since their invention in the early 1960s, society has become increasingly dependent on lasers, utilizing the tools in a wide variety of instrumentation that ranges from barcode scanners and compact disk players to surgical equipment and interferometers. Indeed, lasers are the most common light source employed for scanning confocal fluorescence microscopy and, therefore, microscopists utilizing this technique should have a solid understanding of these powerful, radiation-emitting devices.

Live Cell Imaging - One of the foremost targets in the life sciences is to understand the structure, function, and behavior of living organisms, and with evolving advances in technology, such as the development of confocal microscopy and fluorescent probes, it has become possible to pursue this goal at the cellular and subcellular levels. Still, working with and imaging live cells can be a complex, if not daunting, task to microscopists unfamiliar with the techniques and tools that are available. The following is a compilation of resources that offer overviews, background information, interactive forums, frequently asked questions, protocols, and hints that should aid any microscopist attempting to enter into this important, burgeoning field.

Microscopy Specimen Chambers - The demands of modern confocal microscopy, especially those involving imaging of living cells and tissues, require that researchers take special precautions with their specimens. Indeed, simple microscope slides are unsuitable for many applications, resulting in the development of a broad range of specimen chambers, which can often supply the flexibility a microscopist needs. The list of resources in this section exemplifies the great variety of specimen chambers that are available today and should help visitors locate the products that are best suited for their specific scientific pursuits.

Polarized Light Microscopy - Although much neglected and undervalued as an investigative tool, polarized light microscopy provides all the benefits of brightfield microscopy and yet offers a wealth of information, which is simply not available with any other optical microscopy technique. As well as providing information on absorption color and boundaries between minerals of differing refractive indices obtainable in brightfield microscopy, polarized light microscopy can distinguish between isotropic and anisotropic materials. The technique exploits optical properties of anisotropy to reveal detailed information about the structure and composition of materials, which are invaluable for identification and diagnostic purposes.

Near-field Scanning Optical Microscopy - Near-field scanning optical microscopy provides a technique for examining specimens with ultra-high spatial optical resolution that greatly expands the analytical toolbox of the microscopist. Listed below are links to resources on the web for near-field scanning optical microscopy, including university and government laboratories, technical tutorials, and microscope manufacturers.

University and Government Research Facilities and Laboratories - These sites give information on the research, equipment, and the staff at University and Governmental microscopy facilities. Most labs allow outside researchers to use their facilities for fees posted on their pages.

Tutorials and Education - Visit educational Web sites containing information about various aspects of optical, electron, and confocal microscopy, including photomicrography. A majority of these sites are sponsored by colleges and universities, and many are intended as reference material for lectures and courses.

K-12 Educational Microscopy & Science Sites - Microscopy and science-related Web sites geared towards kindergarten through high school students.

Microscopy Societies - Links to both amateur and professional microscopy societies on the Web.

Microscopy Booksellers - We have scrutinized a number of booksellers for their holdings on microscopy books and provided links to the best on the Web.

Journals and Other Publications - A growing number of journals and magazines are now offered in electronic version on the Internet. We have compiled a selection of Netazines featuring a broad range of topics in optical and electron microscopy, digital imaging, scanning probe microscopy and photomicrography.

Glossaries of Optical Microscopy Terms - The vocabulary of the microscope.

Newsgroups - A listing of newsgroups where visitors can read, post, and reply to messages dealing with various aspects of microscopy.

Equipment, Supplies, and Services - A listing of many vendor sites with online catalogs, company history, services offered, and product information.


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