Although the laws of physics dictate how much an object can be magnified and still clearly seen, scientists continue to expand their view of the microscopic world beyond the cellular level. New light microscopy methods and technology have made it possible for scientists to view previously undetectable tiny structures inside of cells, and to examine such objects in real time as cells carry out their activities.

"New microscopy techniques, particularly those involving fluorescence microscopy and the new fluorescent probes that are being developed, have made it possible for researchers to do many different things that would have been totally impossible to do two years ago," says Fred G. Lightfoot, director of the Center for Microscopy and Image Analysis at the George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Besides magnifying cells and other microscopic objects, scientists are now viewing subcellular organelles and making quantitative measurements of dynamic intracellular activities.


Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?