, Volume 62, Issue 2, pp 227–232

Reflection versus fluorescence

A note on the physical backgrounds of two types of light microscopy
  • M. van der Ploeg
  • P. van Duijn
Short Communication


Bright microscopic images against a dark background can be originating not only from fluorescence, but also from selective reflection. Selective reflection or scattering of visible light in microscopic preparations can be used for the visualization of sometimes otherwise barely distinguishable material. The images obtained superficially resemble those from fluorescence microscopy. They do not, howeverm result from luminescence but from selectively reflected light with wavelengths in the region of the absorbance peak of the chromophore present in the stained biological material. The respective backgrounds of the underlying physical phenomena and the conditions under which selective reflection can occur are discussed.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. van der Ploeg
    • 1
  • P. van Duijn
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Histochemistry and CytochemistryLeiden University Medical CentreLeidenThe Netherlands

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