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Advanced Optical Microscopy

Advanced Optical Microscopy

Optical detection methods are intensively used in the life sciences. Starting from the simple yet powerful microscope invented ~400 years ago, optical methods, and optical imaging methods are constantly developed.

Advanced optical methods provide tools for observing objects with high spatial resolution, high spectral resolution and high sensitivity. These methods are based on pure optical effects as well as effects that involve photon-matter interaction.

The course covers a significant number of the most important methods in optical imaging and microscopy that are used in the life sciences and biophysics. The course starts with a review of the fundamental physics required for understanding imaging and microscopy methods and will continue with a study of the more important methods.

The aim of the course is to provide on a solid physical background to these optical microscopy methods, and to understand the importance, capabilities and limitations of these methods.


  1. Electric fields in matter [overview]

  2. Maxwell’s equations in vacuum & matter

  3. Diffraction theory of light

  4. Point spread function & Optical Transfer function

  5. Filtering methods (phase-contrast, Nomarski, etc.)

  6. Optical detection systems, CCD’s, PMT

  7. Introduction to fluorescence microscopy

  8. Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer

  9. Surface Plasmon Resonance imaging

  10. Confocal Microscopy

  11. 4pi microscopy

  12. n-photon microscopy

  13. Near-field microscopy

  14. Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy

  15. Advanced fluorescent molecules: quantum-dots

  16. Fluorescent Proteins, molecular beacons

  17. Spectral Imaging & Multicolor FISH

  18. I5M microscopy

  19. Saturation Depletion Microscopy

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