What is a laser scanning confocal microscope?
This type of microscope is characterized by using laser beams as the light source. Laser scanning allows high-resolution observation as well as accurate 3D measurement.
|Principle||These systems scan the surface of an object with a laser(s), record the spatial distribution of fluorescence and reflected light from the focal plane, and then visualize the resulting data with a computer to allow observation of high-resolution images.
As the name implies, this microscope uses a confocal optical system.
|Features||- By scanning the laser across the surface of an object in the X, Y, and Z planes, a high-resolution image with corresponding height data can be captured. With a biological sample, for example, this allows users to understand its 3D structure as well as to obtain clear fluorescence images.
- While general optical microscopes use an image-forming optical system, laser microscopes use the confocal optical system. The former illuminates a specific area entirely while the latter focuses light on a single point with a point source light. Furthermore, a pinhole is provided at the image position to receive only the focused light. This results in better contrast with no unnecessary scattered light entering from the surrounding areas.
|Structure||Laser beams emitted from the laser light source go through the objective lens to scan a sample. The fluorescence of the sample excited by the laser beams is returned to the objective lens, processed as an image, filtered by the pinhole, and displayed on the monitor.|