Thursday, May 7, 2009

Microscopic Images

Get up close and personal with your innards with these 15 amazing 3D-body shots. Almost all of the following images were captured using a scanning electron microscope (SEM), a type of electron microscope that uses a beam of high-energy electrons to scan surfaces of images. The electron beam of the SEM interacts with atoms near or at the surface of the sample to be viewed, resulting in a very high-resolution, 3D-image. Magnification levels range from x 25 (about the same as a hand lens) to about x 250,000. Incredible details of 1 to 5 nm in size can be detected.

Max Knoll was the first person to create an SEM image of silicone steel in 1935; over the next 30 years, a number of scientists worked to further develop the instrument, and in 1965 the first SEM was delivered to DuPont by the Cambridge Instrument Company as the “Stereoscan.

1. Red blood cells

RBC They look like little cinnamon candies here, but they’re actually the most common type of blood cell in the human body - red blood cells (RBCs). These biconcave-shaped cells have the tall task of carrying oxygen to our entire body; in women there are about 4 to 5 million RBCs per microliter (cubic millimeter) of blood and about 5 to 6 million in men. People who live at higher altitudes have even more RBCs because of the low oxygen levels in their environment.

2. Split end of human hair

Split human hair Regular trimmings to your hair and good conditioner should help to prevent this unsightly picture of a split end of a human hair.

3. Purkinje neurons

neurons Of the 100 billion neurons in your brain, Purkinje neurons are some of the largest. Among other things, these cells are the masters of motor coordination in the cerebellar cortex. Toxic exposure such as alcohol and lithium, autoimmune diseases, genetic mutations including autism and neurodegenerative diseases can negatively affect human Purkinje cells.

4. Hair cell in the ear

Hair cell in ear

Here’s what it looks like to see a close-up of human hair cell stereocilia inside the ear. These detect mechanical movement in response to sound vibrations.

5. Blood vessels emerging from the optic nerve

optic nerves In this image, stained retinal blood vessels are shown to emerge from the black-colored optic disc. The optic disc is a blind spot because no light receptor cells are present in this area of the retina where the optic nerve and retinal blood vessels leave the back of the eye.

6. Tongue with taste bud

tongue This color-enhanced image depicts a taste bud on the tongue. The human tongue has about 10,000 taste buds that are involved with detecting salty, sour, bitter, sweet and savoury taste perceptions.

7. Alveoli in the lung

alevoliThis is what a colour-enhanced image of the inner surface of your lung looks like. The hollow cavities are alveoli; this is where gas exchange occurs with the blood.

8. Lung cancer cells

lung cancer cells This image of warped lung cancer cells is in stark contrast to the healthy lung in the previous picture.

9. Villi of small intestine


Villi in the small intestine increase the surface area of the gut, which helps in the absorption of food. Look closely and you’ll see some food stuck in one of the crevices.

Source: Wellcome Images

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