Website Detail Page

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published by the Imaging Technology Group
supported by the NASA and the National Science Foundation
The Virtual Microscope project 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 three instruments: a scanning electron microscope, a fluorescence light microscope, and an atomic force microscope. The 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. Also included is a set of specimen annotation tools for teachers and learners. In addition to the datasets, the website provides training materials and animated tutorials that explore the basics of each imaging method.

The Virtual Microscope is an open source project developed by the Imaging Technology Group, part of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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

Please note that this resource requires Java (JRE).
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Practices
- Technology
General Physics
- Equipment
= Electronic Equipment
Modern Physics
- Atomic Physics
- Nanoscience
- Lower Undergraduate
- High School
- Graduate/Professional
- Upper Undergraduate
- Instructional Material
= Demonstration
= Tutorial
- Tool
= Software
- Dataset
- Audio/Visual
= Movie/Animation
Intended Users Formats Ratings
- Learners
- Educators
- Professional/Practitioners
- Researchers
- application/java
- application/pdf
- application/zip
- text/html
- video/quicktime
- video/shockwave
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Free access
© 2007 Imaging Technology Group
AFM, SEM, SPM, electron microscope, instrumentation, light microscopy, microscopy, nanotechnology, scanning probe microscope
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created February 11, 2013 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
February 18, 2013 by Caroline Hall
Other Collections:

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Record Link
AIP Format
(Imaging Technology Group, Urbana, 2007), WWW Document, (
Virtual Microscope, (Imaging Technology Group, Urbana, 2007), <>.
APA Format
Virtual Microscope. (2007). Retrieved October 23, 2017, from Imaging Technology Group:
Chicago Format
NASA, and National Science Foundation. Virtual Microscope. Urbana: Imaging Technology Group, 2007. (accessed 23 October 2017).
MLA Format
Virtual Microscope. Urbana: Imaging Technology Group, 2007. NASA, and National Science Foundation. 23 Oct. 2017 <>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Title = {Virtual Microscope}, Publisher = {Imaging Technology Group}, Volume = {2017}, Number = {23 October 2017}, Year = {2007} }
Refer Export Format

%T Virtual Microscope
%D 2007
%I Imaging Technology Group
%C Urbana
%O application/java

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%D 2007
%T Virtual Microscope
%I Imaging Technology Group
%V 2017
%N 23 October 2017
%9 application/java

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Citation Source Information

The AIP Style presented is based on information from the AIP Style Manual.

The APA Style presented is based on information from APA Electronic References.

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Virtual Microscope:

Contains Virtual Microscope: Training

A link to the tutorial page of Virtual Microscope with animations on basic functions of SEM, AFM, and LM microscopy.

relation by Caroline Hall
Contains Virtual Microscope: Light Microscopy Basics

A highly detailed animated tutorial on light microscopy, including simple and compound microscope anatomy, polarized microscopy, darkfield, and fluorescent microscopy. Appropriate for AP physics or for a course in electricity and magnetism.

relation by Caroline Hall
Contains Virtual Microscope: Scanning Probe Microscopy Basics

An animated tutorial that describes how scanning probe microscopes work to "read" the surface of nanoscale samples and provide image data.

relation by Caroline Hall
Contains Virtual Microscope: Scanning Electron Microscopy Basics

A link to an animated tutorial on the structure and function of a Scanning Electron Microscope. Appropriate for high school and undergraduate education.

relation by Caroline Hall

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