You may not have heard of confocal laser scanning microscopes before, but after you have seen these images, it will be a hot topic you just can’t help but talk about.
Igor Siwanowicz, a neurobiologist, spends his time looking at insects and taking the most amazing, in depth photographs of them using a confocal laser scanning microscope. The project started as a hobby, but soon Siwanowicz realised that experimenting with this microscope was becoming his main fascination.
His photos have already been featured in Wired, but we found them so irresistible, we couldn’t help but share them on our Subcon Laser blog as well.
How does confocal microscopy work?
Before we share the rest of the images, it’s important to understand just how amazing the technology that has helped to produce them is.
The main advantage of confocal microscopy is that it all but removes out of focus light, creating an incredibly high-resolution image. The laser is scanned over the subject to build up the picture in amazing detail. The 3D aspect is created by layering the images scanned by the laser on top of each other. This method of photography is ideal for building detailed images of things we could never see with the naked eye.
This video is the best guide we’ve found to demonstrate the process.
The image of the Juncus Lead Cross-Section shows how fluorescent dyes make the laser scanning even more illuminating. The dyes may not produce true-colour, but they do emphasise the material structure of the leaf as different dyes bind with different materials. In this example, the red dye shows the chloroplasts in the leaf where the blue and green dyes show up on the cellulose structures that form the shape of the leaf.
Confocal laser images by Igor Siwanowicz
Oak Lace Bug