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Microscopy Publications

This section contains links to the major scientific microscopy publications of Michael W. Davidson and his collaborators. These publications are centered around research in microscopy and related topics such as photomicrography, but they also deal with much of the science underlying the subjects captured in photomicrographs. Use the links below to navigate to individual publications.

Magazine Covers - Many hundreds of our photomicrographs have graced the covers of books, scientific journals, trade and popular magazines, catalogs, annual and quarterly reports, and other printed materials. Visit our magazine cover section to discover how graphics and layout artists have used Molecular Expressions photomicrographs.

Integrated Circuits In and Under the Microscope - Reprinted from Microscope Technology & News.


Size: HTML (194 KB) and PDF (2,100 KB)

Abstract: - Perhaps no single technology has produced such a widespread impact on science as the current revolutionary developments occurring in integrated circuit design and fabrication. Integrated circuits are now found in virtually every piece of scientific equipment on the market and new upgrades of existing circuitry are being released at an amazing rate.


Multiple Liquid Crystal Phases of DNA at High Concentrations - Reprinted from Nature.


Size: HTML (334 KB) and PDF (1,371 KB)

Abstract: - DNA packaging in vivo is very tight, with volume concentrations approaching 70% w/v in sperm heads, virus capsids and bacterial nucleoids. The packaging mechanisms adopted may be related to the natural tendency of semi-rigid polymers to form liquid crystalline phases in concentrated solutions. We find that DNA forms at least three distinct liquid crystalline phases at concentrations comparable to those in vivo, with phase transitions occurring over relatively narrow ranges of DNA concentration.


Photomicrography: Common Ground for Science and Art - Reprinted from Microscopy and Analysis.


Size: HTML (619 KB) and PDF (3,445 KB)

Abstract: - The escalating technology in optics and optical coatings, coupled to the development of high quality microscopes and deeply color-saturated photographic films has, in part, led to an explosion in the utilization of photomicrography for numerous fields. Many years ago, the microscope was an exclusive tool of biologists who spent countless hours observing and drawing various specimens of biological interest. Today, however, the microscope has found a home in disciplines as diverse as Chemistry, Physics, Geology, Psychology and Materials Science, to name a few.


Fabrication of Unusual Art Forms with Multiple Exposure Color Micrography - Reprinted from The Microscope.


Size: HTML (272 KB) and PDF (1,975 KB)

Abstract: - Employing an assortment of classical and non-classical microscopy techniques we have succeeded in constructing a series of photomicrographs designed to resemble unusual and/or alien landscapes. We have termed these photomicrographs "microscapes" and have assembled a collection of approximately 1000 such photographs. By applying the techniques described in this article, the interested microscopist can create virtually an unlimited variety of microscapes.


Drugs For Bugs - Reprinted from American Laboratory. This article describes photomicrography of pesticides and some basic topics in the chemistry and pharmacology of these chemicals.


Size: HTML (258 KB) and PDF (1,243 KB)

Abstract: - The agricultural community has endeavored to find a way to end pest control problems for many years now. Having to fend off insects, weed infestations and microorganisms, the country has been hard pressed to find an efficient solution to this problem. By using a very selective group of chemicals known as pesticides, farmers have been able to keep the growing population of pests down to a minimum, increasing the agricultural food output exponentially.


Fascinating Photos with a Simple Microscope - Reprinted from Petersen's Photographic.


Size: HTML (483 KB) and PDF (2,353 KB)

Abstract: - Photography through the microscope, or more commonly, photomicrography, has long been a useful tool for scientists. However, anyone who has access to a simple light microscope can produce highly color-saturated photographs, which display an exciting blend of art and science. Simple light microscopes with high-quality optics can be purchased for as little as $250, and adapters for most cameras are available for $25 to $75.


Introduction to Photomicrography - Reprinted from School Science Review.


Size: HTML (256 KB) and PDF (3,822 KB)

Abstract: - Recent developments in the materials sciences have led to an enhanced interest in this rapidly growing field. In this respect, the discovery of high-temperature superconducting ceramics coupled to an almost explosive progress in semiconductor and integrated circuit technology has shifted an enormous amount of attention to these disciplines. Visible light microscopy is an invaluable tool for the investigation of samples in the materials sciences and engineering. An introduction to photomicrography at the high school level could provide interested students with a useful preview to research techniques in these areas.


Photomicrography in the Geological Sciences - Reprinted from Journal of Geological Education.


Size: HTML (535 KB) and PDF (3,746 KB)

Abstract: - Microscopy plays a paramount role in the examination and identification of geological petrographic thin sections of rocks and minerals. A necessary responsibility of microscopy is to capture the images seen in the microscope onto photographic film to obtain "hard copy" for research records. In this article we describe the conversion of a standard biological brightfield microscope for examination of geological petrographic thin sections and characterize, in detail, the use of both black and white and color photomicrography in the geological sciences. Several illustrative examples on the use of transmitted and reflected polarized light microscopy to solve geological problems are presented.


Some Artistic Techniques in Photomicrography - Reprinted from Journal of Biological Photography.


Size: HTML (297 KB) and PDF (1,802 KB)

Abstract: - The inherent beauty of science has recently become more accessible to the general public due to an escalation in the publication of multi-color computer-generated graphics images as well as photomicrographs and other images of scientific interest. These images are appearing on the covers of many scientific and trade periodicals (currently numbering over 250) where they serve as eye-catchers to promote reader interest. In addition, scientific images now commonly appear in calendars and postcards designed both for commercial and consumer distribution as well as a wide variety of non-scientific periodicals offered for sale to the general public.


Microscopy in the Investigation of High-Temperature Superconductors - Reprinted from Microscopy and Analysis.


Size: HTML (345 KB) and PDF (682 KB)

Abstract: - Superconductivity is a phenomena displayed by certain metallic and ceramic materials whose electrical resistance falls to zero at a specific critical temperature. Unfortunately, until very recently, the temperatures were so cold that they were attainable only with the use of liquid helium. In 1986, IBM researchers Georg Bednorz and Alex Müller reported a new ceramic material developed from the oxides of lanthanum, barium, and copper that displayed the superconductivity effect at the (then) astonishingly high temperature of 30K. Prior to this discovery, the highest critical temperature described, 23.3K by niobium-germanium thin films, had gone unchallenged for more than a dozen years. This produced an almost explosive growth in the field as everybody hopped on the bandwagon in the race to discover new high temperature ceramic superconductors. Almost immediately, the critical temperature was raised to 40K and under high pressures, ceramics were found that superconducted at 50K.


From Under the Microscope to Over the Platen - Reprinted from Screenplay for Garment Graphics.


Size: HTML (308 KB) and PDF (3,051 KB)

Abstract: - Science is science, and art is art, you say? Think again, suggests Michael Davidson. For this biophysicist turned artist, the two have not only met, but become a way of life through screen printing.


Is That Shirt Ascorbic Acid? - Reprinted from Scientific American.


Size: HTML (122 KB) and PDF (1,186 KB)

Abstract: - Colorful and unusual images-of medicines, hormones, superconductors and pesticides, to name a few, have become the focus of a mini-industry. Vitamins and other images will be smeared on T-shirts, neckties and other body wear and will be available without the laundry bill. The scientific images have already begun to work their way onto other mass-market items, among them greeting cards, gift-wrapping and even a New Age album cover.


Micro Masterpieces - Reprinted from Life Magazine.


Size: HTML (167 KB) and PDF (2,122 KB)

Abstract: - The creation of abstract art is not the aim of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, but yet to show that there is an art to science. Experimenting with film processing to enhance colors, it was discovered that not only truth but beauty lies beneath the microscope. They now capture cutting-edge research on superconductors, and continue to add to the collection of molecular fantasies.


Moon Rocks Under the Microscope - Reprinted from Microscopy and Analysis.


Size: HTML (346 KB) and PDF (1,544 KB)

Abstract: - Since the time that Galileo first examined the moon's surface, we have learned a great deal about the properties of our nearest neighbor. Without leaving our planet we have determined the Moon's size, shape, and weight, how to measure the temperature of the surface, and to estimate various electrical properties from radar waves reflected from the surface . However, investigators were not able to get a real handle on the geology of the Moon until mineral and soil samples were returned to Earth for close scrutiny. This eventually led to these moon rocks being examined under the fine eye of a microscope, revealing many interesting details about the Moon's surface.


Photographic Microscapes: Exploring Color Photomicrography - Reprinted from Darkroom and Creative Camera Techniques.


Size: HTML (183 KB) and PDF (1,178 KB)

Abstract: - Photographing thin crystal preparations between crossed polarizers with either a microscope or macro lens has been the subject of numerous articles. In fact, the growing interest in photomicrography as an art form is partially evidenced by the increasing number of photomicrograph contests held each year both on a domestic and international basis. Additionally, the keen competition in the scientific trade journal and arbitrated scientific periodical market has resulted in a dramatic increase in the use of photomicrographs appearing on periodical front covers as an eye-catcher.

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