Virtual Microscope Data

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To make these 90 samples we've processed 67,817 images totalling 62.2 gigapixels weighing in at 174GB worth of raw data.

We're adding more all the time! We try to produce one or two new samples each week, so stop by frequently or use an RSS reader to subscribe to the RSS feed advertised on this page to be notified when we add to our library.

Image data is the core component for the Virtual Microscope. Below you will find links to each of the samples we have collected and constructed so far. They are arranged by source instrument.

In order to view these specimens, you will need to download the Virtual Microscope if you haven't already. Once you have installed the software this list of specimens will show up in the load screen and you can download and use them in one easy step. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to let us know.

For an example of multiple focus levels you can try this housefly sample. Try switching illumination with the algae sample. You can change the polarization of the light source in our meteorite sample. In our sand sample you can switch imaging detectors and examine X-ray spectra from the energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) detector.

Where did the download links go?

In the latest versions of the Virtual Microscope software we built-in the ability to download samples directly to the right place, eliminating a lot of confusion and trouble. The initial window, the load screen, features the same list of available samples with download buttons. Once the software finishes downloading a sample it moves into the pool of samples you can use right away!

Electron Microscope (EM)

All of our VSEM samples are collected using custom software that runs a Philips XL-30 Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope (ESEM). These images are all taken in hi-vacuum mode, and generally range up to 1800x.

Tardigrade (Dorsal View)

Built from raw data totalling 4.1GB (1.5 gigapixels)

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The animals of the phylum tardigrada or water bears are microscopic (0.2-0.5 mm) aquatic animals that are commonly found in the interstitial moisture trapped among the leaves of mosses and the thali of lichens. Water bears have well developed muscles, a ventral nervous system, a complete digestive system, and separate sexes but they lack circulatory and respiratory systems. Tardigrades are famous for being able to survive the most extreme conditions on the planet by slipping into cryptobiosis, a state of desiccation and returning to active life months and years later. About a thousand species are recognized today, mostly by the shape and structure of their body, mouth parts, and claws. These specimens were collected in Utah from a moss growing on a stone wall around a yard. Sample courtesy of William R. Miller, Baker University, William.Miller@BakerU.edu

Tardigrade (Sagittal View)

Built from raw data totalling 3.3GB (1.2 gigapixels)

EM_tard_sag.jar

The animals of the phylum tardigrada or water bears are microscopic (0.2-0.5 mm) aquatic animals that are commonly found in the interstitial moisture trapped among the leaves of mosses and the thali of lichens. Water bears have well developed muscles, a ventral nervous system, a complete digestive system, and separate sexes but they lack circulatory and respiratory systems. Tardigrades are famous for being able to survive the most extreme conditions on the planet by slipping into cryptobiosis, a state of desiccation and returning to active life months and years later. About a thousand species are recognized today, mostly by the shape and structure of their body, mouth parts, and claws. These specimens were collected in Utah from a moss growing on a stone wall around a yard. Sample courtesy of William R. Miller, Baker University, William.Miller@BakerU.edu

Lunar Dust (1)

Built from raw data totalling 4.4GB (1.6 gigapixels)

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Using laser beams and electric fields, NASA researchers are probing the curious behavior of moondust, a mixture composed primarily of rock and mineral fragments and glassy particles. The dozen Apollo astronauts who walked on the moon between 1969 and 1972 were all surprised by how "sticky" moondust was. Dust got on everything, fouling tools and spacesuits. For more information, read up on current research and background information.

Lunar Dust (2)

Built from raw data totalling 2.1GB (747.5 megapixels)

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Using laser beams and electric fields, NASA researchers are probing the curious behavior of moondust, a mixture composed primarily of rock and mineral fragments and glassy particles. The dozen Apollo astronauts who walked on the moon between 1969 and 1972 were all surprised by how "sticky" moondust was. Dust got on everything, fouling tools and spacesuits. For more information, read up on current research and background information.

Martian Dust

Built from raw data totalling 3.5GB (1.3 gigapixels)

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Dust on Mars is extremely fine, about the size of flour used in baking bread. For simulated Mars dust, researchers often use 'Carbondale red clay,' because it is less than 0.0000787 of an inch (two microns, or 2 millionths of a meter) in size. Martian dust is not only a mechanical irritant but also perhaps a chemical poison. Mars is red because its surface is largely composed of iron oxide (rust) and oxides of other minerals. Some scientists suspect that the dusty soil on Mars may be such a strong oxidizer that it burns any organic compound such as plastics, rubber or human skin as viciously as undiluted lye or laundry bleach. For more information, read up on current research.

Meteorite (EDS)

Built from raw data totalling 478.4MB (167.2 megapixels)

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Meteorites are pieces of rock that fall to Earth from space. This meteorite came from an asteroid. It is made of dust that formed 4.6 billion years ago, when the planets were just beginning to form. At that time, the Solar System was a cloud of dust and gas that circled in a disk around the newly-formed Sun. Some pieces of dust were flash-heated and melted, and then cooled to form solid beads - the circular objects in the image. These beads are cemented together with fine-grained dust that did not melt. Meteorites like this one, which are called chondrites, tell us about how the Solar System formed.

Costa Rican Sand (EDS)

Built from 2,720 images totalling 893.2MB (312.2 megapixels)

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Sand on ocean beaches is frequently a mixture of weathered rock and crushed sea shells. In the second sample to feature X-ray data from our Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS) detector you can clearly identify sand grains from silicon rich igneous rock and calcium based sea shells. Also of interest are the crystals of salt (Na and Cl) from the ocean water. The carbon paint used to stabilize the sand is also identifiable as well as a small area where the aluminum holder below the paint is visible.

Stromatolite (EDS)

Built from raw data totalling 8.9GB (3.2 gigapixels)

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This piece of a greater stromatolite formation is about the size of your fist. This face shows a cross-section through several of the rock's layers. The layers are due to the sedimentation of minerals generated by cyanobacterial mats that used to be prevalent before larger animals evolved and began eating them. Modern day bacterial mats can still be found in some areas that are inhospitable to animal life. This sample contains X-ray spectral data for elemental analysis.

Stromatolite

Built from raw data totalling 8.9GB (3.2 gigapixels)

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This piece of a greater stromatolite formation is about the size of your fist. This face shows a cross-section through several of the rock's layers. The layers are due to the sedimentation of minerals generated by cyanobacterial mats that used to be prevalent before larger animals evolved and began eating them. Modern day bacterial mats can still be found in some areas that are inhospitable to animal life. This sample contains multiple focus levels.

Pond Scum (EDS)

Built from 4,218 images totalling 3GB (1.1 gigapixels)

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This is our first sample to feature X-ray data from the scanning electron microscope. We can compare to the known X-ray fingerprints of the different elements to identify what element is being hit by the electron beam. This is done across the whole sample, allowing you to visualize the atomic composition of the material. This sample was collected from a local lake and dried onto filter paper. The X-ray data helps us distinguish between carbonaceous life, silicate shells, and calcium crystals.

Firefly

Built from 2,304 images totalling 1.5GB (550.4 megapixels)

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The firefly, part of the family Lampyridae, are actually beetles not flies, as their name would imply. Fireflies glow to attract other fireflies and are usually about 0.75 inches (2 cm) long. More information about fireflies can be found at BackyardNature.

Gecko Toe (3)

Built from 2,640 images totalling 1.8GB (652.4 megapixels)

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This low-mag sample shows a section of sticky pad on the underside of a Tokay gecko's front toe. Tokay geckos can adhere to a variety of surfaces by using a unique pad composed of millions of tiny hairs, each smaller than the wavelength of visible light! These tiny hairs each have a tiny attraction (van der Waals force) to a surface when in extremely close contact. The combined sum of these attractions would allows a gecko to support hundreds of times its own weight. Images of the Gecko feet were completed with the help of Kellar Autum, Lewis & Clark College, Portland, Oregon.

Gecko Foot (2)

Built from 5,250 images totalling 3.6GB (1.3 gigapixels)

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This high-mag sample shows a small section of sticky pad on the underside of a Tokay gecko's front toe. Tokay geckos can adhere to a variety of surfaces by using a unique pad composed of millions of tiny hairs, each smaller than the wavelength of visible light! These tiny hairs each have a tiny attraction (van der Waals force) to a surface when in extremely close contact. The combined sum of these attractions would allows a gecko to support hundreds of times its own weight. Images of the Gecko feet were completed with the help of Kellar Autum, Lewis & Clark College, Portland, Oregon.

Tick

Built from 450 images totalling 328.4MB (114.8 megapixels)

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These parasites have little claws on the ends of their arms so that they can hang on to their host. They feed through a barbed hypostome found at the head area, which is like a barbed hypodermic needle.

Gecko Foot (1)

Built from 5,488 images totalling 1.7GB (598.4 megapixels)

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This high-mag sample shows a small section of sticky pad on the underside of a Tokay gecko's front toe. Tokay geckos can adhere to a variety of surfaces by using a unique pad composed of millions of tiny hairs, each smaller than the wavelength of visible light! These tiny hairs each have a tiny attraction (van der Waals force) to a surface when in extremely close contact. The combined sum of these attractions would allows a gecko to support hundreds of times its own weight. Images of the Gecko feet were completed with the help of Kellar Autum, Lewis & Clark College, Portland, Oregon.

Starfish Arm (Dorsal View)

Built from 1,445 images totalling 1GB (362.5 megapixels)

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Starfish commonly have a spiny skin with tiny bone-like plates. On the surface of the dorsal view of a starfish arm, there are tiny arms with pincers called 'pedicellaria'. These act in cleaning off debris and they also work with the spines that are sticking out to keep most predators at bay.

Starfish Arm (Ventral)

Built from 1,380 images totalling 1002.4MB (350.3 megapixels)

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Starfish arms have tube feet on the ventral face, which belong to a hydraulic water vascular system. This system aids the starfish in movement and feeding.

Water Beetle

Built from 2,940 images totalling 2GB (733.1 megapixels)

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Water beetles are specially adapted for aquatic environments. Comparison with terrestrial beetle specimens shows that its 'feet' are modified for swimming.

House Fly (3)

Built from 7,020 images totalling 5.1GB (1.8 gigapixels)

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The ventral side of a house fly. This fly has especially spikey looking setae (what we call hairs on insects) on its legs. Also, the soft fleshy mouthparts are clean and clearly visible. Most flies regurgitate stomach acids (which dissolve their food) and then suck up the gooey mess. The pattern on the mouthparts here is particularly fascinating.

Beetle

Built from 6,240 images totalling 4.4GB (1.6 gigapixels)

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As with the house fly above, this sap beetle specimen illustrates the depth of detail in the insect world. This specimen is also from the underside and shows the entire body of the beetle.

Pentium Chip

Built from 588 images totalling 400.4MB (140 megapixels)

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An older-model Pentium CPU was cut and "delidded" so that the silicon die was exposed. You can read about the Pentium CPU in depth on Wikipedia.

Xyloplax (Dorsal View)

Built from 2,210 images totalling 1.5GB (519.2 megapixels)

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Xyloplax is a monotypic genus within the Concentricycloidea, an infraclass within the Asteroidea. Details of this new species are to be published in the May 2006 issue of Invertebrate Biology by Chris Mah, a scientist specialized in deep-sea starfishes. The dorsal (top) view shows the hard spines partially exposed where the softer flesh has come off during processing.

Colloidal Crystals

Built from 483 images totalling 322.3MB (112.6 megapixels)

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The sample was made by sedimenting submicron particles, impregnating the interstitial space with hydrogel, and then removing the particles. Research by Robert Barry and Pierre Wiltzius.

Sap Beetle

Built from 1,404 images totalling 1GB (360.2 megapixels)

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As with the house fly above, this sap beetle specimen illustrates the depth of detail in the insect world. This specimen is also from the underside and shows the entire body of the beetle.

Fractured Ceramic Cup

Built from 1,296 images totalling 906.6MB (316.9 megapixels)

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The fracture surface of a broken ceramic cup. Ceramic materials are extremely diverse in their electrical, thermal, and mechanical properties and thus show up in a wide variety of applications. Because they are typically ionic or covalently-bonded materials that are often porous, ceramics are more likely to fracture than exhibit plastic deformation. Thus, ceramics are more prone to catastophic failures unlike the more gentle failure modes of metals (credit: wikipedia). Read more about ceramics on Wikipedia's Ceramics page.

Xyloplax (Ventral View)

Built from 1,596 images totalling 1.1GB (385.1 megapixels)

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Xyloplax is a monotypic genus within the Concentricycloidea, an infraclass within the Asteroidea. Details of this new species are to be published in the May 2006 issue of Invertebrate Biology by Chris Mah, a scientist specialized in deep-sea starfishes. The ventral (bottom) view shows the tube feet that may be found around the edges of the disc-shaped animal. The patchwork pattern in the middle is due to charging--an undesirable phenomenon that was unavoidable with this particular sample.

House Fly (2)

Built from 10,080 images totalling 6.8GB (2.4 gigapixels)

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The common house fly is a stunning sight up close, revealing a veritable world of structure that is unseen by human eye. This tiling of a complete house fly (underside) shows the legs, abdomen, head, and mouth parts clearly.

Accelerometer (SEM)

Built from raw data totalling 94MB (32.8 megapixels)

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Accelerometers are used to detect changes in velocity. They are attached to various devices, such as cars, planes, and spacecraft in order to provide information vital for navigation and safety systems. One example use is in your car, where the accelerometer helps the car's computer know if you have gotten into an accident--triggering the release of the air bag.

DLP Chip

Built from 480 images totalling 333.4MB (116.5 megapixels)

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This specimen is a Texas Instruments Digital Micromirror Device (DMD), a component of DLP TVs and projectors. Each square is an individual mirror which tilts to affect the lighting for each pixel of the image. Chip courtesy of Texas Instruments. More information on DMDs at www.dmddiscovery.com.

Human Kidney Stone

Built from 2,160 images totalling 1.3GB (466.4 megapixels)

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Ever wondered why kidney stones hurt so much? This SEM sample of a human kidney stone clearly illustrates the crystalline structure of this object and the sharp edges that structure produces.

House Fly (1)

Built from 3,458 images totalling 2.1GB (753.5 megapixels)

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The common house fly is a stunning sight up close, revealing a veritable world of structure that is unseen by human eye. This tiling of a complete house fly (underside) shows the legs, abdomen, head, and mouth parts clearly.

NASA Heat Tile

Built from 1,725 images totalling 1.1GB (393.6 megapixels)

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This specimen is a small portion of a foam heat protection tile from one of the space shuttle orbiters. Sample was provided by the NASA Kennedy Space Center.

Integrated Circuit

Built from raw data totalling 79.9MB (27.9 megapixels)

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This sample is a small integrated circuit that functions as a NAND gate. The soldered leads are visible on the edges (many are broken off), and circuit pathways are evident as topographical features.

Light Microscope (LM)

All of our VLM samples are collected using on our Fluoresence Light Microscope. We have used various software packages to aid in the data collection, including MCID and Openlab. The tissue specimens are stained histology sections, and the rest are unmodified. Images are taken with a 40x objective.

Meteorite (NWA 1929)

Built from raw data totalling 5.9GB (2.1 gigapixels)

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Howardite: Found in the Sahara desert of North Africa. This meteorite is a breccia (rock composed of fragments of other rocks) of two types of asteroid magma from a differentiated asteroid. The likely source is the large basaltic asteroid Vesta.

Meteorite (NWA 2086)

Built from raw data totalling 4GB (1.4 gigapixels)

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A carbonaceous chondrite (CV3): Found November 2003 in the Sahara desert of North Africa. This type is the most primitive of chondrites, having undergone the least amount of mixing and remelting since the formation of the solar system. Allende shows large chondrules and a fine grain silicate structure. Some of the large chondrules are made up of grains that are the oldest solid materials in the solar system. This meteorite has yielded abundant information concerning the conditions prevailing when our solar system was forming.

Meteorite (NWA 869)

Built from raw data totalling 4.7GB (1.7 gigapixels)

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An ordinary chondrite (L5): Found 2001 in the Sahara desert of North Africa. Ordinary chondrites are the most common type of meteorite fall or find. They are largely composed of common minerals olivine and pyroxene and have about 1/4 free iron. The 'chondrules' are round b-b like formations that are thought to have formed directly from the gasses of the solar nebula. These cosmic b-b's dominate the appearance of ordinary chondrites and are the original building blocks of the terrestrial planets.

Meteorite (Tsarev)

Built from raw data totalling 2.6GB (934.5 megapixels)

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An ordinary chondrite (L5): Found 1968 outside the Russian city of Tsarev in Volgograd Province (this is the former 'Stalingrad'). This is a very abundant meteorite, totaling over 1130 kilograms of material in 28 separate masses. Local records suggest that the meteorite fell in December 1922, but the masses buried themselves in fields and were overlooked because of the civil war raging in Russia at the time. Ordinary chondrites are the most common type of meteorite fall or find. They are largely composed of common minerals olivine and pyroxene and have about 1/4 free iron. The 'chondrules' are round b-b like formations that are thought to have formed directly from the gasses of the solar nebula. These cosmic b-b's dominate the appearance of ordinary chondrites and are the original building blocks of the terrestrial planets. This ordinary chondrite has been highly shocked during its residence on an asteroid parent body.

Tardigrade (Dorsal View)

Built from raw data totalling 1.5GB (553 megapixels)

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The animals of the phylum tardigrada or water bears are microscopic (0.2-0.5 mm) aquatic animals that are commonly found in the interstitial moisture trapped among the leaves of mosses and the thali of lichens. Water bears have well developed muscles, a ventral nervous system, a complete digestive system, and separate sexes but they lack circulatory and respiratory systems. Tardigrades are famous for being able to survive the most extreme conditions on the planet by slipping into cryptobiosis, a state of desiccation and returning to active life months and years later. About a thousand species are recognized today, mostly by the shape and structure of their body, mouth parts, and claws. These specimens were collected in Utah from a moss growing on a stone wall around a yard. Sample courtesy of William R. Miller, Baker University, William.Miller@BakerU.edu

Tardigrade (Sagittal View)

Built from raw data totalling 1.5GB (553 megapixels)

LM_tard_sag.jar

The animals of the phylum tardigrada or water bears are microscopic (0.2-0.5 mm) aquatic animals that are commonly found in the interstitial moisture trapped among the leaves of mosses and the thali of lichens. Water bears have well developed muscles, a ventral nervous system, a complete digestive system, and separate sexes but they lack circulatory and respiratory systems. Tardigrades are famous for being able to survive the most extreme conditions on the planet by slipping into cryptobiosis, a state of desiccation and returning to active life months and years later. About a thousand species are recognized today, mostly by the shape and structure of their body, mouth parts, and claws. These specimens were collected in Utah from a moss growing on a stone wall around a yard. Sample courtesy of William R. Miller, Baker University, William.Miller@BakerU.edu

Microbial Mat (1)

Built from raw data totalling 647.9MB (226.4 megapixels)

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Microbial Mats are of interest to scientists because they are representatives of the oldest life on Earth. These thick layers of microbes would grow almost anywhere on Earth, but the evolution of plants started a competition for resources and as animals appeared they consumed the mats as food. With the proliferation of plants and animals now, the best place to find naturally occurring microbial mats are environments so extreme that plants and animals aren't around. Billions of years ago, microbial mats produced stromatolites, our oldest records of life on Earth. Be sure to check out our stromatolite samples as well. (Credit: NASA) Read more about these mats at the NASA website.

Microbial Mat (2)

Built from raw data totalling 1.8GB (645.8 megapixels)

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Microbial Mats are of interest to scientists because they are representatives of the oldest life on Earth. These thick layers of microbes would grow almost anywhere on Earth, but the evolution of plants started a competition for resources and as animals appeared they consumed the mats as food. With the proliferation of plants and animals now, the best place to find naturally occurring microbial mats are environments so extreme that plants and animals aren't around. Billions of years ago, microbial mats produced stromatolites, our oldest records of life on Earth. Be sure to check out our stromatolite samples as well. (Credit: NASA) Read more about these mats at the NASA website.

Microbial Mat (3)

Built from raw data totalling 1.2GB (436.5 megapixels)

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Microbial Mats are of interest to scientists because they are representatives of the oldest life on Earth. These thick layers of microbes would grow almost anywhere on Earth, but the evolution of plants started a competition for resources and as animals appeared they consumed the mats as food. With the proliferation of plants and animals now, the best place to find naturally occurring microbial mats are environments so extreme that plants and animals aren't around. Billions of years ago, microbial mats produced stromatolites, our oldest records of life on Earth. Be sure to check out our stromatolite samples as well. (Credit: NASA) Read more about these mats at the NASA website.

Microbial Mat (4)

Built from raw data totalling 1.2GB (434.4 megapixels)

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Microbial Mats are of interest to scientists because they are representatives of the oldest life on Earth. These thick layers of microbes would grow almost anywhere on Earth, but the evolution of plants started a competition for resources and as animals appeared they consumed the mats as food. With the proliferation of plants and animals now, the best place to find naturally occurring microbial mats are environments so extreme that plants and animals aren't around. Billions of years ago, microbial mats produced stromatolites, our oldest records of life on Earth. Be sure to check out our stromatolite samples as well. (Credit: NASA) Read more about these mats at the NASA website.

Amoeba

Built from raw data totalling 1.4GB (503.4 megapixels)

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An amoeba is a unicellular organism, meaning there is only a single nucleus with a simple contractile vacuole. These protozoa move by using pseudopods. There is one large tubular pseudopod located at the anterior and several secondary ones branching to the sides on this organism.

Ascaris

Built from raw data totalling 1.4GB (488.8 megapixels)

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Ascaris is a type of parasite, and is one of the largest and most common type found in humans. This sample shows various phases of mitosis as well. Mitosis is the process of producing two daughter cells by nuclear division plus cytokinesis.

Desmids

Built from raw data totalling 587.5MB (205.4 megapixels)

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Desmids are a type of non-flagellated algae and are known for their symmetry. They are composed of two semi-cells joined by an isthmus, where a spherical nucleus resides. Each of the semi-cells has a large, and often folded chloroplast. Desmids secrete mucilage to move away or towards light and also serve as a protective layer. They reproduce by cell division at the isthmus, where two new semi-cells are produced.

Diatoms

Built from raw data totalling 3.5GB (1.2 gigapixels)

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Diatoms have cell walls made of silica, and they have yellow-brown chloroplast, as opposed to green. There are two groups that typically make up diatoms: pennates (pen-shaped) and centric (cylinder-shaped). Many stay connected after they divide, making long chains.

Euglena

Built from raw data totalling 2GB (708.4 megapixels)

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Euglena are a type of protozoa (single-celled eukaryotes) that feature a single flagellum and are usually found in freshwater. They collect chloroplasts from algae to synthesize food when sunlight is available but can ingesting other small organisms as food when sunlight is sparse.

Gametophyte Moss

Built from raw data totalling 299.5MB (104.7 megapixels)

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Gametophyte moss is when the plant cells are haploid, meaning there is a single portion of chromosomes in their cells. Gametophyte moss produces male or female gametes by the process of mitosis. When a female and male gamete fuse together, a zygote is produced which develops into a sporophyte. In general, mosses are non-vascular plants and are distinguished by their multi-cellular rhizoids. These rhizoids are root-like structures that anchor the plant to the ground.

Hookworm

Built from raw data totalling 595MB (208 megapixels)

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Ancylostoma caninum or hookworm is an intestinal parasite that infects dogs. They have teeth like structures or cutting plates used to latch onto the intestine and suck blood.

Lichen

Built from raw data totalling 191.7MB (67 megapixels)

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Lichen is made up of green algae or cyanobacteria (blue algae) ad filamentous fungi. Since they take on the external shape of the fungi, they are grouped with them. Lichen is made up of various layers: upper layer is made up of fungi, just underneath this layer resides cyanobacteria, another layer consists of algae embedded in fungi, and the last layer is made of fungi. Lichen reproduces asexually.

Moss Antheridial Head

Built from raw data totalling 438.8MB (153.4 megapixels)

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An Antheridial head is the male sex component of gametophyte mosses. Mosses produce these small sex structures at regular intervals depending on the species and weather conditions. Water is needed to transport sperm from the antheridial head to the female counterpart called the archegonium. Once there, fertilization takes place and a zygote is produced making a sporophyte moss.

Moss Capsule

Built from raw data totalling 520.3MB (181.9 megapixels)

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A sporophyte moss has three structures: a foot to anchor itself to the gametophyte moss, a stalk-like seta, and at the end is a capsule where spores are produced. Any given capsule may contain from four to over a million spores depending on the species of moss. When the top of the capsule, or the cap, pops off, spores fall out onto the ground. Once there, they will germinate into gametophytes.

Moss Sporophyte

Built from raw data totalling 348.3MB (121.7 megapixels)

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Sporophyte moss is when the plant cells are diploid, meaning there is a double portion of chromosomes in their cells. Sporophyte moss produces spores by meiosis, and then these spores develop into gametophytes. In general, mosses are non-vascular plants and are distinguished by their multi-cellular rhizoids. These rhizoids are root-like structures that anchor the plant to the ground.

Penicillium

Built from raw data totalling 90.6MB (31.7 megapixels)

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Penicillium is a fungal genus whose different species have such varied uses as making cheese and producing antibiotics. Commonly known as "bread mold" because it is typically the blue-green mold that shows up on old bread. (Background information courtesy of Wikipedia)

Rhizopus

Built from raw data totalling 3.4GB (1.2 gigapixels)

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A Rhizopus is a filamentous fungus found in soil, decaying fruit and vegetables, animal feces, and old bread. It is the cause of some serious, and often fatal, infections in humans and animals. They reproduce by sporulation, or the production of spores.

Spirogyra

Built from raw data totalling 529MB (184.9 megapixels)

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Spirogyra is a filamentous algae found in nutrient-rich, warm waters, such as ditches and dune pools. It begins life underwater, but often rises to the surface as green patches buoyed by the bubbles of oxygen it produces.

Tapeworm

Built from raw data totalling 829.9MB (290.1 megapixels)

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Taenia pisiformis or tapeworm is an intestinal parasite that mostly just infects dogs. They latch onto the intestine and live off of digested food, so their bodies only have a reproductive system that dominates it. The tail end breaks off periodically and is secreted through the feces where eggs will hatch from it and a flee will eventually eat them, where then a dog will eat the flee when it pupates, making more tapeworms. The largest of tapeworms are 80 feet or longer!

Yeast

Built from raw data totalling 1.9GB (697.2 megapixels)

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Saccharomycetes is a class in the kingdom of fungi, and includes budding yeasts. These sugar-eating yeasts are of great importance to industry, and are central in the production of ethyl alcohol and many bread products.

Moss Leaves

Built from raw data totalling 275.7MB (96.4 megapixels)

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Liverworts and mosses are very similar, and the ways to tell the two apart are to look at their slightly different leaves. Moss leaves are of equal size, spirally arranged, and are not lobed. They are usually in more than three rows around the stem. Liverworts and mosses are very similar, and the ways to tell the two apart are to look at their slightly different leaves. These leaves are simple, with usually a single layer of photosynthetic cells.

Chinchilla Cerebellum

Built from raw data totalling 7.9GB (2.8 gigapixels)

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"The cerebellum (Latin: "little brain") is a region of the brain that plays an important role in the integration of sensory perception and motor output. Many neural pathways link the cerebellum with the motor cortex "which sends information to the muscles causing them to move " and the spinocerebellar tract "which provides feedback on the position of the body in space." (Credit: Wikipedia) Read more about the cerebellum at Wikipedia.

Volvox

Built from raw data totalling 3.8GB (1.3 gigapixels)

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Volvox are spherical colonies of green cells situated in a hollow ball of mucilage. Each cell has a tail, or flagella, and these tails will all move in unison to propel the entire colony through water. These colonies will often show daughter cells in various stages of development. Sometimes colonies will be found to have granddaughter cells.

Meteorite

Built from raw data totalling 11.1GB (4 gigapixels)

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Meteorites are pieces of rock that fall to Earth from space. This meteorite came from an asteroid. It is made of dust that formed 4.6 billion years ago, when the planets were just beginning to form. At that time, the Solar System was a cloud of dust and gas that circled in a disk around the newly-formed Sun. Some pieces of dust were flash-heated and melted, and then cooled to form solid beads - the circular objects in the image. These beads are cemented together with fine-grained dust that did not melt. Meteorites like this one, which are called chondrites, tell us about how the Solar System formed.

Dog Liver

Built from raw data totalling 1.7GB (607.7 megapixels)

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"The liver is an organ in vertebrates, including humans. It plays a major role in metabolism and has a number of functions in the body including detoxification, glycogen storage and plasma protein synthesis. It also produces bile, which is important for digestion." (credit: Wikipedia) Read more about the liver at Wikipedia.

Accelerometer (LM)

Built from raw data totalling 141MB (49.3 megapixels)

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Accelerometers are used to detect changes in velocity. They are attached to various devices, such as cars, planes, and spacecraft in order to provide information vital for navigation and safety systems. One example use is in your car, where the accelerometer helps the car's computer know if you have gotten into an accident--triggering the release of the air bag.

CCD Chip

Built from raw data totalling 473.7MB (165.6 megapixels)

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Charge Coupled Devices (CCDs) are light-sensitive digital sensors commonly found in digital cameras. Each 'pixel' is a capacitor that transfers its charge to a control circuit that translates that information into digital images. The Bayer filter is clearly seen in this sample. Read more about CCDs at Wikipedia.

Kidney Injected

Built from raw data totalling 1.2GB (426.7 megapixels)

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"The kidneys are bean-shaped excretory organs in vertebrates. Part of the urinary system, the kidneys filter wastes (especially urea) from the blood and excrete them, along with water, as urine. The medical field that studies the kidneys and diseases affecting the kidney is called nephrology." (credit: wikipedia) Read more about the kidney at Wikipedia.

Voltage Regulator

Built from raw data totalling 491.8MB (171.9 megapixels)

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"A voltage regulator is an electrical regulator designed to automatically maintain a constant voltage level. It may use an electromechanical mechanism, or passive or active electronic components. Depending on the design, It may be used to regulate one or more AC or DC voltages." (credit: wikipedia) voltage regulators.

Algae (2)

Built from raw data totalling 2.4GB (845.4 megapixels)

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Algae, also known as pond scum, "comprise several different groups of living organisms usually found in wet places or water bodies that capture light energy through photosynthesis, converting inorganic substances into simple sugars wtih the captured energy." (credit: Wikipedia) Read more about algae on Wikipedia.

Human Aorta

Built from raw data totalling 2.4GB (848.6 megapixels)

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"The largest artery in the human body, the aorta originates from the left ventricle of the heart and brings oxygenated blood to all parts of the body in the systemic circulation." Read more about the aorta on Wikipedia.

Monkey Larynx

Built from raw data totalling 5.4GB (1.9 gigapixels)

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"The larynx rests in a frame of cartilage bound by ligaments and muscle. At the front is the thyroid cartilage, also called the thyroid lamina, creating the prominence of the Adam's apple in humans. Below the thyroid cartilage is a ring-shaped cartilage called the cricoid which forms the connection to the traches." (credit: wikipedia) Read more about the larynx at Wikipedia.

Dog Jejunum

Built from raw data totalling 1.3GB (470.8 megapixels)

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"In anatomy of the digestive system, the jejunum is the central of the three divisions of the small intestine and lies between the duodenum and the ileum. In adult humans, it is usually between 2-8m (06' 07"-26' 03") long. The pH in the jejunum is usually between 7 and 8 (neutral or slightly alkaline)." Read more about thejejunum at Wikipedia.

Dog Spleen

Built from raw data totalling 1.7GB (619.3 megapixels)

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"The spleen is a ductless, vertebrate gland that is not necessary for life but is closely associated with the circulatory system, where it functions in the destruction of old red blood cells and removal of other debris from the bloodstream, and also in holding a reservoir of blood." (credit: wikipedia) Read more about the spleen at Wikipedia.

Algae (1)

Built from raw data totalling 2.5GB (878.5 megapixels)

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Algae, also known as pond scum, "comprise several different groups of living organisms usually found in wet places or water bodies that capture light energy through photosynthesis, converting inorganic substances into simple sugars wtih the captured energy." (credit: Wikipedia) Read more about algae on Wikipedia.

Dog Esophagus

Built from raw data totalling 1.6GB (567.9 megapixels)

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"The esophagus (also spelled oesophagus), or gullet is the muscular tube in vertebrates through which ingested food passes from the mouth area to the stomach. Food is passed through the esophagus by using the process of peristalsis." Read more about the esophagus at Wikipedia.

Dog Heart

Built from raw data totalling 2.7GB (950 megapixels)

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"The function of the right side of the heart is to collect deoxygenated blood from the body and pump it into the lungs so that carbon dioxide can be dropped off and oxygen picked up. this happens through a process called diffusion. The left side collects oxygenated blood from the lungs and pumps it out to the body." Read more about the heart at Wikipedia.

Human Blood Tile

Built from raw data totalling 2.3GB (828.1 megapixels)

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Red blood cells are the most common type of blood cell in the body, and are the principal means of delivering oxygen to body tissues (credit: wikipedia). Read more about red blood cells on Wikipedia's Red blood cell page.

Digital Macro Photography (MACRO)

We image some objects that can't be sectioned or are too big for the microscopes with a macro lens on our professional digital camera. Then we stitch the images together to cover the whole object at high magnification.

Stromatolite

Built from raw data totalling 1.1GB (384.8 megapixels)

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This piece of a greater stromatolite formation is about the size of your fist. This face shows a cross-section through several of the rock's layers. The layers are due to the sedimentation of minerals generated by cyanobacterial mats that used to be prevalent before larger animals evolved and began eating them. Modern day bacterial mats can still be found in some areas that are inhospitable to animal life.

Scanning Probe Microscope (SPM)

Our SPM samples have been collected on an Atomic Force Microscope. The samples feature several colormaps as well as a special tool in the Virtual Microscope software for viewing regions of interest in 3D.

Integrated Circuit

Built from raw data totalling 174.2MB (60.9 megapixels)

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This sample shows the surface features of an integrated circuit (IC). The IC was fabricated by photolithography on silicon wafer. The strip pattern with holes is the metal wire to transport electrical current. The holes are actually the top of metal microtubes to conduct current into deeper layers of circuits underneath the surface. The latest ICs have narrower wires and up to 20 layers of circuits on a single chip.

Pyrite

Built from raw data totalling 427.3MB (149.3 megapixels)

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This piece of natural pyrite crystal from the Grand Teton National Park gift shop was broken to expose a fresh, clean cleavage for AFM imaging. The little bumps are iron compounds that have not been fully sulfidized. After being exposed to oxygen in the air, iron oxidized and formed little bumps because of volume increase. The long, smooth strip across the sample surface indicates a fully sulfidized layer of iron sulfide which had better cleavage quality (fewer defects) due to the lack of impurities.

Pyrite 2

Built from raw data totalling 117MB (40.9 megapixels)

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In additional to small bumps, this sample has larger scale irregularly shaped patterns. The pyrite crystal may contain larger amount of mineral elements other than iron and sulfur. Those impurities are less resistant to oxidization and corrosion from environment, and therefore form larger scale patterns.

Pyrite 3

Built from raw data totalling 71.1MB (24.8 megapixels)

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This sample has the highest quality iron sulfide. Generally the sample is pure showing steps of crystal layers and regular crack lines between grain boundaries. There are still small bumps of iron compounds like those dominating the two previous samples. Also, there are several large, kidney-shaped patterns indicating other impurities. This sample may have been under high temperature for a longer time underground, allowing those impurities to migrate together to form a larger clot.

Silicon 2

Built from raw data totalling 65MB (22.7 megapixels)

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The square array of spikes have been fabricated on single crystal silicon chips by a method called photolithography. This is the same popular technique to manufacture computer integrated circuits. Ultraviolet (UV) light with desired patterns is projected onto silicon wafers coated with some light sensitive liquid known as photo resist (PR). PR unexposed to UV light remains liquid and is later washed away leaving silicon exposed. PR exposed to UV light cures into solid protection layer on top of silicon wafers. The cured PR layer protects silicon from being removed by later chemical etching. Hence the UV light patterns are transferred onto silicon wafers.

Silicon 3

Built from raw data totalling 49.8MB (17.4 megapixels)

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The checkerboard pattern has been fabricated on single crystal silicon chips by a method called photolithography. This is the same popular technique to manufacture computer integrated circuits. Ultraviolet (UV) light with desired patterns is projected onto silicon wafers coated with some light sensitive liquid known as photo resist (PR). PR unexposed to UV light remains liquid and is later washed away leaving silicon exposed. PR exposed to UV light cures into solid protection layer on top of silicon wafers. The cured PR layer protects silicon from being removed by later chemical etching. Hence the UV light patterns are transferred onto silicon wafers.

Silicon Etching

Built from raw data totalling 287.2MB (100.4 megapixels)

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This piece of silicon wafer has been etched in the micro-image of a Nickel. It demonstrates the precision of computer control over Focussed Ion Beam (FIB) etching. A FIB accelerates and directs a stream of Gallium (Ga) ions which impact the sample, removing material at the nanometer scale. The pattern for this etching came from an image of the nickel downloaded from the US Mint website. The sample's images were obtained on an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) which physically tapped the surface of the silicon wafer with a microscopic probe to determine its height at every point, essentially recreating the image used as the pattern for the FIB.

Artistic Renderings of Microscopy Images

The following samples are artistic hand-colorings of single SEM images. The Scanning Electron Microscrope doesn't sense the wavelength of electrons the way our eyes sense the wavelength of light as color, which is why SEM datasets are black and white (for more information, see our training animation on how the SEM works). These colorized images don't contain the ultra high resolution or focus dimensionality of our SEM samples ('magnification' of these images is the same as zooming into any image in that it produces a pixelated result), but they are very beautiful and give a sense of viewing these images within the microscope itself. These source images are provided by Dennis Kunkel from his Scientific Stock Photography site.

If you are interested in providing imagery for inclusion in the Virtual Microscope, please let us know.

Bean Weevil

Built from raw data totalling 83.6MB (29.2 megapixels)

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This bean weevil is emerging from a bean seed. These pests commonly infest beans that are in storage.

Flower Bud

Built from raw data totalling 82.2MB (28.7 megapixels)

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This is an open male flower showing the stamens (anther and filament) and a closed female flower with stigma surface protruding. These flowers are also known as the golden cane or butterfly palm.

Fruit Fly

Built from raw data totalling 89.8MB (31.4 megapixels)

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These common pests are usually the little flies or gnats you might find in your kitchen.

Human Blood Cells

Built from raw data totalling 82.2MB (28.7 megapixels)

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Here is shown human red blood cells, activated platelets, and white blood cells - monocyte and T lymphocyte.