Microscopes look inside cells and help us understand the detailed biology.

Microscopes are usually used to look at isolated cells growing in a dish (cell culture). Alternatively you can use them to look at very thin slices of tissue (histology). Both have the same problem – how to you extract any information? Look at the images below. Click on the images to add a contrast agent.

Not much information here. Lots of cells, but it's difficult to see them.

This is a thin slice of tumour. Again not much information here.








These images don't contain any contrast agent and it's very difficult to get anything useful from them.  The image on the right is a slice of human cancer - it is 10 micrometers thick (1/100 mm).