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published by the Imaging Technology Group
supported by the NASA and the National Science Foundation
This web page, part of the Virtual Microscope Project, features interactive animations that illustrate the basics of imaging in the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), the Fluorescence Light Microscope (LM), and the Atomic Force Microscope (AFM). Also included are videos demonstrating how to prepare samples for each type of microscope. Don't miss the interviews with scientists who discuss career paths that utilize microscopy in both the public and private sectors.

The Virtual Microscope provides cost-free simulated scientific instrumentation for students and researchers worldwide as part of NASA's Virtual Laboratory initiative. This site supports and shares data from all three instruments: SEM, LM, and AFM. Automated data capture software is shared with users via a Java application that provides a simulation of the group's actual microscope interfaces. The magnification controls allow the user to explore any point of interest on the sample and provides access to a robust set of specimen annotation tools.

Please note that this resource requires Flash, or Quicktime, or Xuggle.

Please note that this resource requires Java (JRE).
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© 2007 Imaging Technology Group
AFM, AFM tutorial, SEM, SEM tutorial, SPM, electron microscope, instrumentation, light microscope tutorial, light microscopy, microscopy, microscopy careers, microscopy tutorial, nanotechnology, scanning probe microscope
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created February 11, 2013 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
February 18, 2013 by Caroline Hall

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

1. The Nature of Science

1C. The Scientific Enterprise
  • 6-8: 1C/M6. Computers have become invaluable in science, mathematics, and technology because they speed up and extend people's ability to collect, store, compile, and analyze data; prepare research reports; and share data and ideas with investigators all over the world.

3. The Nature of Technology

3A. Technology and Science
  • 6-8: 3A/M2. Technology is essential to science for such purposes as access to outer space and other remote locations, sample collection and treatment, measurement, data collection and storage, computation, and communication of information.
3C. Issues in Technology
  • 9-12: 3C/H6. The human ability to influence the course of history comes from its capacity for generating knowledge and developing new technologies—and for communicating ideas to others.

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11. Common Themes

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  • 6-8: 11B/M4. Simulations are often useful in modeling events and processes.

This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.

Topic: Particles and Interactions and the Standard Model
Unit Title: Microscopy: Observing at the Nanoscale

What is microscopy and what sort of careers are available to a microscopist? This web page features animated tutorials that illustrate the basics of the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), and the Scanning Probe Microscope (SPM). It includes interviews with practicing scientists from a wide variety of fields, who talk about career paths that utilize microscopy.

Link to Unit:
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Record Link
AIP Format
(Imaging Technology Group, Urbana, 2007), WWW Document, (http://virtual.itg.uiuc.edu/training/).
Virtual Microscope: Training, (Imaging Technology Group, Urbana, 2007), <http://virtual.itg.uiuc.edu/training/>.
APA Format
Virtual Microscope: Training. (2007). Retrieved February 21, 2017, from Imaging Technology Group: http://virtual.itg.uiuc.edu/training/
Chicago Format
NASA, and National Science Foundation. Virtual Microscope: Training. Urbana: Imaging Technology Group, 2007. http://virtual.itg.uiuc.edu/training/ (accessed 21 February 2017).
MLA Format
Virtual Microscope: Training. Urbana: Imaging Technology Group, 2007. NASA, and National Science Foundation. 21 Feb. 2017 <http://virtual.itg.uiuc.edu/training/>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Title = {Virtual Microscope: Training}, Publisher = {Imaging Technology Group}, Volume = {2017}, Number = {21 February 2017}, Year = {2007} }
Refer Export Format

%T Virtual Microscope: Training
%D 2007
%I Imaging Technology Group
%C Urbana
%U http://virtual.itg.uiuc.edu/training/
%O application/flash

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%D 2007
%T Virtual Microscope: Training
%I Imaging Technology Group
%V 2017
%N 21 February 2017
%9 application/flash
%U http://virtual.itg.uiuc.edu/training/

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Virtual Microscope: Training:

Is Part Of Virtual Microscope

Link to the main website of Virtual Microscope, which includes instructions for downloading the software for sharing datasets produced by the group's scanning and probing microscopes.

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