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  3. Main Types of Microscopes: Types & Principle

Basics of Microscopes

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.

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