It requires a good deal of will power to resist hyperbole in considering the advances that have been achieved in fluorescence microscopy in the last 25 years. Our effort has been to survey the modalities of microscopic fluorescence imaging available to cell biologists and perhaps useful for diagnostic pathologists. The gamut extends from established confocal laser scanning through multiphoton and TIRF to the emerging technologies of super-resolution microscopy that breech the Abbe limit of resolution. Also considered are the recent innovations in structured and light sheet illumination, the use of FRET and molecular beacons that exploit specific characteristics of designer fluorescent proteins, fluorescence speckles, and second harmonic generation for native anisometric structures like collagen, microtubules and sarcomeres.
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