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Analytical Cellular Pathology
Volume 34 (2011), Issue 1-2, Pages 5-18

Optical and Digital Microscopic Imaging Techniques and Applications in Pathology

Xiaodong Chen,1,3 Bin Zheng,2 and Hong Liu3

1College of Precision Instruments, Tianjing University, Tianjing, China
2Department of Radiology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
3Center for Bioengineering and School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK, USA

Copyright © 2011 Hindawi Publishing Corporation and the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The conventional optical microscope has been the primary tool in assisting pathological examinations. The modern digital pathology combines the power of microscopy, electronic detection, and computerized analysis. It enables cellular-, molecular-, and genetic-imaging at high efficiency and accuracy to facilitate clinical screening and diagnosis. This paper first reviews the fundamental concepts of microscopic imaging and introduces the technical features and associated clinical applications of optical microscopes, electron microscopes, scanning tunnel microscopes, and fluorescence microscopes. The interface of microscopy with digital image acquisition methods is discussed. The recent developments and future perspectives of contemporary microscopic imaging techniques such as three-dimensional and in vivo imaging are analyzed for their clinical potentials.