8MM10 - Microscopy for Biological Samples


The course is meant for students that may have to do light microscopy on biological samples for their internship(s) or MSc-project, and for students that are interested in  biomedical applications of optics in general. After completion of this course one has obtained a thorough background in the possibilities and limitations of various optical-microscopic techniques, in particular the possibilities and limitations related to biological samples.

Learning Objectives

The student knows:

  • the most important physical aspects of light microscopy
  • the relative importance of the various factors
  • the most important principles of special microscopic techniques as polarization microscopy, phase contrast and differential interference contrast
  • the most important physical aspects of fluorescence
  • the most important physical aspects of fluorescence microscopy: epi-fluorescence, confocal laser scanning microscopy and multi-photon laser scanning microscopy
  • the possibilities of specific techniques such as second harmonic generation and fluorescence techniques such as fluorescence lifetime imaging, stochastical techniques and structured illumination (fluorescence) techniques.
  • the possibilities and limitations of all these microscopy techniques
  • the relationship between microscopic imaging and electronically acquired images
  • the possibilities and dangers of application of these techniques to living tissue

The student can:

  • work with a standard microscope
  • describe and select in a correct way the most important properties of the various microscope types
  • advise of the choice of various microscope parts on the basis of product information
  • advise of the coherence of the various components of a microscope
  • indicate what type of microscope is required for a certain research question
  • understand and interpret literature in the field of microscopy
  • advise of the use of various types of microscopes for biological samples.


Responsible lecturer: M.C. (Mark) van Turnhout.

Co-lecturer: L. (Lorenzo) Albertazzi.