Fundamental Concepts in Confocal Microscopy

Confocal microscopy offers several advantages over conventional optical microscopy, including controllable depth of field, the elimination of image degrading out-of-focus information, and the ability to collect serial optical sections from thick specimens. The key to the confocal approach is the use of spatial filtering to eliminate out-of-focus light or flare in specimens that are thicker than the plane of focus. There has been a tremendous explosion in the popularity of confocal microscopy in recent years, due in part to the relative ease with which extremely high-quality images can be obtained from specimens prepared for conventional optical microscopy, and in its great number of applications in many areas of current research interest.
Review Articles
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Selected Literature References

Contributing Authors

Kenneth W. Dunn and Exing Wang - Department of Medicine, Indiana University, School of Medicine, 1120 South Drive, FH115, Indianapolis, Indiana 46202-5116.

Stephen W. Paddock, Eric J. Hazen, and Peter J. DeVries - Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53706.

James B. Pawley - Department of Zoology, 1117 W. Johnson Dr., University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53706.

Jeffrey M. Larson and Stanley A. Schwartz - Nikon Instruments, Inc., 1300 Walt Whitman Road, Melville, New York, 11747.

Matthew Parry-Hill, Thomas J. Fellers, and Michael W. Davidson - National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, 1800 East Paul Dirac Dr., The Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, 32310.