From Handbook of Image and Video Processing
Fatima A. Merchant,
Advanced Digital Imaging Research
Keith A. Bartels,
Southwest Research Institute
Alan C. Bovik Kenneth R. Diller,
The University of Texas at Austin

1 Introduction

Confocal microscopes have been built and used in research laboratories since the early 1980s and have been commercially available for only the last few years. The concept of the confocal microscope, however, is almost 50 years old. In 1957, Marvin Minsky [1] applied for a patent on the confocal idea. At that time, Minsky demonstrated great insight into the power of the confocal microscope. He realized that the design of the confocal microscope would give increased resolution and increased depth discrimination ability over conventional microscopes. Independently, in Czechoslovakia, M. Petr~n and M. Hadravsky [2] developed the idea for the tandem scanning optical microscope (a form of the confocal micro- scope) in the mid-1960s. However it was not until the 1980s, that the confocal microscope became a useful tool in the scientific community. At the time the confocal scope was introduced, the electron microscope was receiving a great deal of attention as it was becoming commercially available. Meanwhile, the confocal microscope required a very high intensity light source, and thus its commercialization was delayed until the emergence of affordable lasers in the technological market. Finally, without the aid of high-speed data processing equipment and large computer memories, taking advantage of the three-dimensional (3D) capabilities of the confocal microscope was not practical. Visualization of the data was also not feasible without high-powered computers and advanced...

Copyright Elsevier Inc. 2005 under license agreement with Books24x7

Products & Services
Biological Microscopes
Biological microscopes are used to study organisms and their vital processes.
Measuring Microscopes
Measuring microscopes are used by toolmakers for measuring the properties of tools.  These microscopes are often used for dimensional measurement with lower magnifying powers to allow for brighter, sharper images combined with a wide field of view.
Specialty Microscopes
Specialty microscopes are designed for specific applications such as metallurgy or gemology. They use specialized techniques or technologies such as acoustics to produce magnification.
Metallurgical Microscopes
Metallurgical microscopes are used for metallurgical inspection including metals, ceramics, and other materials.

Topics of Interest

Fatima A. Merchant Kenneth R. Castleman, Advanced Digital Imaging Research 1 Introduction Recent advances in the field of microscopy have been driven not only by technologic innovations in...

University of Waterloo News Bureau New instrument extends view of confocal laser microscopes WATERLOO, Ont. -- Two University of Waterloo physicists have invented a new scanning beam confocal...

The confocal laser scanning microscope (CLSM) has been used by scientists to visualize three-dimensional (3D) biological samples. Although this system involves lasers, electronics, optics, and...

Observation is at the origin of all scientific discoveries. The nanoworld is becoming more important and is even becoming an area of scientific discovery thanks to the progress that has been made in...

Tencor Instruments strengthened its product line with the purchase of Ultrapointe, a San Jose­based manufacturer of defect review tools, for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition gives Tencor all...