Technavio's analysts forecast the global optical microscope
market to grow at a CAGR of 7.12% during the period 2016-2020.
Anything smaller than the size of a bacterial cell (around 250 nanometres) appears as a blurred blob through an optical microscope
, simply because light waves spread when they are focused on a tiny spot.
Compound Optical Microscope
Market Size Compared to market growth in different countriess
Now, a new optical microscope
developed by the initiative of an Iranian scientist Bahram Jalali jointly with the UCLA engineers could make the tough task a whole lot easier.
Biology labs in most schools are equipped with optical microscopes
, which use pieces of curved glass called lenses to focus light waves.
The new nano-imaging system is based on capturing optical, near-field virtual images, which are free from optical diffraction, and amplifying them using a microsphere, a tiny spherical particle which is further relayed and amplified by a standard optical microscope
Before using the high magnification of the SEM, a traditional optical microscope
or an inverted optical microscope
is used to locate the area of interest.
N-STORM provides dramatically enhanced resolution of that is 10 times or better than that of conventional optical microscopes
. The N-STORM instrumentation will be capable of multi-spectral two-dimensional and three-dimensional nanoscopy, with lateral resolution to approximately 20nm and axial resolution to approximately 50nm, extending the role of the optical microscope
to near molecular level resolution.
This "microscopic microscope" operates without lenses but has the magnifying power of a top-quality optical microscope
, can be used in the field to analyze blood samples for malaria or check water supplies for giardia and other pathogens, and can be mass-produced for around $10.
With its unique design, this analyzer can use the same sample to determine both particle size (via laser diffraction) and shape (via optical microscope
AN OPTICAL microscope
small enough to fit on a fingertip, has been developed and represents the biggest leap forward in design since the 16th century.
However, as we shall see, the optical microscope
has its limitations--at least one of which is now readily addressed by ingenious software.
This novel instrument gives a performance far in excess of an ordinary optical microscope
, requires no special sample preparation for hydrated, oily or nonconducting samples, and is as easy to use as a digital camera.
In addition to an optical microscope
, the system has an atomic force microscope (ATM) equipped with a specially designed probe to measure particle shapes, and a diamond compression indentor whose tip is flattened using a focused ion beam (FIB) process to the extent that the tip is 1 micron in diameter, narrow enough to compress just a single particle at a time.
The microstructure analysis was conducted utilizing both an optical microscope
and an imaging system.