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Certain materials can refract nonvisible forms of EMR and, in effect, transform them into visible light. Certain fluorescent dyes, for instance, absorb ultraviolet or blue light and then use the energy to emit photons of a different color, giving off light rather than simply vibrating. This occurs because the energy absorption causes electrons to jump to higher energy states, after which they then almost immediately fall back down to their ground states, emitting specific amounts of energy as photons. Not all of the energy is emitted in a given photon, so the emitted photons will be of lower energy and, thus, of lower frequency than the absorbed ones. Thus, a dye such as Texas red may be excited by blue light, but emit red light; or a dye such as fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC) may absorb (invisible) high-energy ultraviolet light and emit green light ( [link] ). In some materials, the photons may be emitted following a delay after absorption; in this case, the process is called phosphorescence . Glow-in-the-dark plastic works by using phosphorescent material.

An image shows a large cell in the foreground and other cells further in the background. Each cell has an irregular shape with a large blue circle in the center. Green lines surround the blue circle and span out towards the edges of the cell. The rest of the cell is red with a bright red edge. The background of the image is black.
The fluorescent dyes absorbed by these bovine pulmonary artery endothelial cells emit brilliant colors when excited by ultraviolet light under a fluorescence microscope. Various cell structures absorb different dyes. The nuclei are stained blue with 4’,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI); microtubles are marked green by an antibody bound to FITC; and actin filaments are labeled red with phalloidin bound to tetramethylrhodamine (TRITC). (credit: National Institutes of Health)
  • Which has a higher frequency: red light or green light?
  • Explain why dispersion occurs when white light passes through a prism.
  • Why do fluorescent dyes emit a different color of light than they absorb?

Magnification, resolution, and contrast

Microscopes magnify images and use the properties of light to create useful images of small objects. Magnification is defined as the ability of a lens to enlarge the image of an object when compared to the real object. For example, a magnification of 10⨯ means that the image appears 10 times the size of the object as viewed with the naked eye.

Greater magnification typically improves our ability to see details of small objects, but magnification alone is not sufficient to make the most useful images. It is often useful to enhance the resolution of objects: the ability to tell that two separate points or objects are separate. A low-resolution image appears fuzzy, whereas a high-resolution image appears sharp. Two factors affect resolution. The first is wavelength. Shorter wavelengths are able to resolve smaller objects; thus, an electron microscope has a much higher resolution than a light microscope, since it uses an electron beam with a very short wavelength, as opposed to the long-wavelength visible light used by a light microscope. The second factor that affects resolution is numerical aperture , which is a measure of a lens’s ability to gather light. The higher the numerical aperture, the better the resolution.

Even when a microscope has high resolution, it can be difficult to distinguish small structures in many specimens because microorganisms are relatively transparent. It is often necessary to increase contrast to detect different structures in a specimen. Various types of microscopes use different features of light or electrons to increase contrast—visible differences between the parts of a specimen (see Instruments of Microscopy ). Additionally, dyes that bind to some structures but not others can be used to improve the contrast between images of relatively transparent objects (see Staining Microscopic Specimens ).

  • Explain the difference between magnification and resolution.
  • Explain the difference between resolution and contrast.
  • Name two factors that affect resolution.

Key concepts and summary

  • Light waves interacting with materials may be reflected , absorbed , or transmitted , depending on the properties of the material.
  • Light waves can interact with each other ( interference ) or be distorted by interactions with small objects or openings ( diffraction ).
  • Refraction occurs when light waves change speed and direction as they pass from one medium to another. Differences in the refraction indices of two materials determine the magnitude of directional changes when light passes from one to the other.
  • A lens is a medium with a curved surface that refracts and focuses light to produce an image.
  • Visible light is part of the electromagnetic spectrum ; light waves of different frequencies and wavelengths are distinguished as colors by the human eye.
  • A prism can separate the colors of white light ( dispersion ) because different frequencies of light have different refractive indices for a given material.
  • Fluorescent dyes and phosphorescent materials can effectively transform nonvisible electromagnetic radiation into visible light.
  • The power of a microscope can be described in terms of its magnification and resolution .
  • Resolution can be increased by shortening wavelength, increasing the numerical aperture of the lens, or using stains that enhance contrast.

Fill in the blank

When you see light bend as it moves from air into water, you are observing _________.


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Short answer

Explain how a prism separates white light into different colors.

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Questions & Answers

Can you give an essay of theta model of DNA replication?
ARYA Reply
Actually Bacterial replication is bidirectional process so when replication start in bacterial DNA two dna forks get formed and both replication again meet on same point in termination position ... so therefore in bacterial dna a greek letter (θ) structure formed which is called theta modal.
what are thermophile's bacteria
evon Reply
bacteria which can survive in high temperature.
why do we study microbiology?
Joyce Reply
For the classification, identification of pathogenic microbes ...
what is pathogenicity
diseases causing activity ...
of microbes..
sorry ability not activity..
I think it's the degree of a pathogen to cause infection
what is prokaryotes
are micro-organisms that have no nucleus e.g bacteria
and they do not possess membrane bound organelles e.g mitochondria
they are single cellular organisms,
all the organelles are embedded in cytoplasm of the cell
They don't possess true nucleus
they're unicellular organisms
they are classified as bacteria and. archaea. bacteria have a cell membrane conposed of peptidoglycan and archaea is composed of psuedomu
organelles are non membraneous as the nucleus
What is the biosynthesis of a bacteria cell
Adesina Reply
biosynthesis is multiple step enzymes catalyze process which occur in bacterial cell
biological way of manufacturing food and utilizes it for growth, multiplication and development
what is microbiology
Kiirya Reply
which organism can not be seen necked eyes is knowm as microbiology
micro can be define as d smallest living organisms dat can not be see wit naked eyes only with the aid of a microscope 🔬
bio means life logy means study
biology can b define as the systematic study of living things
microbiology can be define as the study of tiny organisms, that's according to my understanding
Microbiology is the study of living organisms which cannot be seen by the naked eye but only with the aid of a microscope. These microorganisms can be classified as bacteria, fungi, micro-algae, protozoa and virus.
microbes that can't seen in naked eyes. upto 100micrometer we can see in naked eyes but 1 microns or nanometers are invisible in naked eye.
what is a cell
Oteri Reply
cell can be define as smallest indivisible organism in the body
cell is the smallest unit which makes up the whole body
cell is smallest unit and there are two types prokaryotic cell and eukaryote cell. bacteria a prokaryotic cell which works independently.
nice forum
Which parasite competes with the host for vitamin B12 to cause pernicious anaemia
Diphyllobothrium latum for vit B12
it is also fish tapeworm
Diphyllobothrium sp feed vitB 12
recent trends in microbiology of biofertilizer
Ykomalipriya Reply
using nano technology
what is transposors
Junk DNA, jumping gene.
transposon elements are jumping gene as DNA sequence move from one location to anothet
what is microbiology
Usama Reply
Microbiology is the study of organisms, most of which are too small to be seen with the naked eye, including bacteria, algae, protozoa, and fungi, as well as acellular agents, such as viruses and prions.
what is gram +ve and gram - ve bacteria?
gm- contain lipid layer so it take counter stain during gram staining and pink or red in color but gm + does have thick LPS layer.
what year microbiology started
Robert Koch was the first to detect microorganisms
what appears microorganisms
clear the questions please
was it robert koch or robert hooke?
microbiology word came from microns. study microbes that not recognize in naked eyes.
what are the branch of microbiology
Oyemade Reply
We can basically classify into pure and applied microbiology
what is arabinose operon and it's stucture
Pooja Reply
The L-arabinose operon, also called the ara or araBAD operon, is an operon required for the breakdown of the five-carbon sugar, L-arabinose, in Escherichia coli
kya hum operon ko divide kar skate hain
reactions if viruses to physical and chemical agents?
All viruses contain the following two components: 1) a nucleic acid genome and 2) a protein capsid that covers the genome. Together this is called the nucleocapsid. In addition, many animal viruses contain a 3) lipid envelope. The entire intact virus is called the virion.
assume you have performed a gram stain on a sample of pus from a patients urethra. you see red, nucleated cells and purple rods. what can you conclude
Petty Reply
gram negative bacteria hence gonococcal infection
Study of micro organisation which we cannot see with naked eye...
shyam Reply
Despite their bad reputation, microbes are mostly beneficial or have a neutral effect on our lives. Microbiology is the scientific study of these microorganisms. Microorganisms are those organisms that are too small to see with the naked eye and include things like bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
not 'things'...'organisms' like bacterias, viruses and fungi
simi, it's not bacterias but bacteria which is the plural form of the word while bacterium is the singular of it
bacterium is obvio in a singular form but plural of bacterium is bacterias
Richard is right it's bacterium which is the singular form and plural is bacteria. *Bacterias* doesn't exist.
that is microbiology which is deals with microbes only their structure

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Source:  OpenStax, Microbiology. OpenStax CNX. Nov 01, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12087/1.4
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