optical microscope

Scientific Image - Human Venule

This is an optical microscope image of a human venule—a tiny blood vessel.

A venule is tiny blood vessel that connects capillaries—where the blood exchanges the oxygen it carries for carbon dioxide—to larger veins leading back to the heart.

• SIZE: A venule is about 30 µm in diameter.

• IMAGING TOOL: Optical microscope

Scientific Image - Gold Nanoshells (optical microscope)

To create this optical microscope image, gold nanoshells were dispersed in a drop of water which then dried on a glass microscope slide. The colors are due to selective scattering of light by nanoscale particles.

Gold Nanoshells have a variety of uses in nanotechnology, and especially in biomedical applications. Nanoshells like these may play important roles in new kinds of cancer treatments, disease detection, and imaging techniques.

• SIZE: These gold nanoshells are each about 120 nm in diameter.

• IMAGING TOOL: Optical microscope

Scientific Image - Water Droplet on a Nasturtium Leaf

The Lotus Effect describes water droplets rolling off leaf surfaces, removing dirt and contaminants in the process. This phenomenon can also be seen in the more common nasturtium. Scanning electron microscope images show that nasturtium leaves are covered by waxy nanocrystal bundles. The uneven surface created by these tiny structures traps air between water and leaf, causing the water to roll off. Research on such nanoscale effects has inspired revolutionary new materials, including water- and stain-resistant fabrics.

• IMAGING TOOL: Optical microscope

Scientific Image -Glass Nanowire

In this optical microscope image, light can be seen passing though a silica nanowire on a silica aerogel surface.

New technologies have made it possible to draw glass in long, ultra-smooth wires with uniform diameters in the nanometer range. Because of their extraordinary uniformity, these nanowires have unique properties important in optics and photonics, both of which require precise control of light.

• SIZE: This nanowire is 530 nm long and the radius of the bent wire is 8 µm.

• IMAGING TOOL: Optical Microscope

Scientific Image - Liquid Crystal

This is an optical microscope image of a liquid crystal (Cromlyn in water). The colors are created by molecular variations or changes in the crystal's thickness.

Liquid crystals have properties of both liquids and solids: Although they can flow like a fluid, their molecules are highly ordered, like those found in solid crystals. The ubiquitous liquid crystal displays (LCDs) found in everything from watches to cell phones are made possible by devices that rapidly alter the structure of these substances—and therefore the way they interact with light.

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