What is a Confocal Microscope?

August 31, 2022by Kalstein

Within the laboratory, the use of microscopes is necessary for conducting biological research. Basically, it is the use of light sources, light detectors and other elements that prevent luminescence from planes other than the focus of the sample. Its use has spread in different fields of science, specifically in biomedical.

Of note, confocal microscopes absorb light from all samples, but not all of it reaches the user’s eye. The light exposed by the planes that is out of range when studying a sample, slows the visualization of the same in a determined way. This light is discarded by the incorporation of a space known as Phinole or diaphragm within the microscope.

Confocal Microscope Parts

Confocal microscopes have a main scheme that allow to constitute an image through a step to clear the point to point of the sample. This process produces higher resolution images.

Confocal microscopes consist of the following:

  • Light source: Absorbs enlarged light by induced manifestation of radiation.
  • Dichroic mirror: fully radiates the light that hits at an angle of about 45°.
  • “Pinhole” detector slot: Allows light to pass through the focal plane.
  • Lens lens: Orients the light rays that are reflected in the dichroic model towards the focal plane in different optical cuts of the sample.
  • Detector: Receives the light beam and corrects distortions to form an image.

In addition, confocal microscopes are integrated with computer methods that enable three-dimensional restoration. This reconstruction in different optical sections resembles the cuts of a radiological CT scan or magnetic resonance. From there, new fields of research focused on the computer reconstruction of human anatomical structures are initiated.

Types of confocal microscope

Initially, for the academic part of universities and scientific research centers, three types of confocal microscopes are used, among them:

  • Scanning laser confocal microscope: It is a type of microscope that fits with a set of technological techniques of the fluorescent microscope, the electronic profile of the sample and the light locations supplied. With the laser scanning confocal microscopy tool, you can pass the light that derives from the out-of-focus planes.
  • Rotary disk confocal microscope: Rotary disk confocal microscopes use a scheme of laser light perceived by the samples. The rotary disk of the microscope allows light to pass through the defined hole model, allowing optical sections.
  • Programmable matrix microscopes: These are advanced microscopes that allow you to see optimal frames, through the integration of compounds within your procedure. The operation of these depends on the holes found in the pinhole.

Confocal Microscope Functions

Among the most important functions of the confocal microscope are:

  • Monitor the movement of atoms within cells.
  • Attract the nucleic acid series approach of cells.
  • To perform the histochemical mixture of high resolution, with non-isotopic programming, something impossible before the invention of this type of microscope.
  • Allows recognition of secretion techniques in living cells.

In this way, through the use of confocal microscopes, tissue, cellular and subcellular structures can be observed. With this technology, functional, pathological and toxicological devices of different bodies can be explained. It also allows the study of diseases related to cellular disorders, as well as its use in pharmacology and toxicology. Its use in the field of microbiology is focused on the study of cell dynamics and diseases such as cancer.

Kalstein brand microscope

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