This lecture/lab describes the famous Abbe Diffraction Experiments conducted by Ernst Abbe who showed how diffraction of light by a specimen (and interference with the illuminating light) gives rise to an image and how collection of diffracted light defines the resolution of the microscope. These concepts are demonstrated by using a diffraction grating as a specimen and visualizing and comparing the diffraction pattern in the back focal plane as well as the image in the image plane.
Kurt Thorn is an Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at UCSF and Director of the Nikon Imaging Center – a facility that provides cutting edge light microscopy equipment to UCSF researchers. Kurt can be followed on his blog at http://nic.ucsf.edu/blog/. Continue Reading