Foundations of Confocal Scanned Imaging in Light Microscopy

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Abstract

Seldom has the introduction of a new instrument generated as instant an excitement among biologists as the laser-scanning confocal microscope. With the new microscope, one can slice incredibly clean, thin optical sections out of thick fluorescent specimens; view specimens in planes tilted to, and even running parallel to, the line of sight; penetrate deep into light-scattering tissues; gain impressive three-dimensional (3D) views at very high resolution; obtain differential interference or phase-contrast images in exact register with confocal fluorescence images; and improve the precision of microphotometry.