Date: February 1, 1999Table of Confocal Microscope Manufacturers
Perhaps in few other fields has the creation of an instrument been so important to the establishment of a new theory or discipline. Even the Galilean telescope, with its revelation of the Medicean moons, does not compare to the microscope because the foundation for astronomy had already been well established by naked-eye observation. Cell theory, by contrast, had no such foundation in anecdotal experience. However, it wasn't long before the theoretical limits of the compound microscope had been reached by the manufacturer Carl Zeiss in 1880.1 His magnification of 2,000 diameters and high resolution of about 0.2 µm, attainable by oil immersion, would not be significantly improved upon until the 1940s.

It seemed as though microscopy for the purposes of biological investigation had reached an impasse. Then in 1955, a new postdoctoral fellow at Harvard began applying his considerable talents...

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