A microscope allows you to visually dive into the microbial world. Because ‘seeing is believing’, microscopy was also the main catalyst for the establishment of microbiology as a scientific discipline.

The wikipedia-timeline of microscope technology starts 700 BCE and ends 1991 – which is a bit strange as there have been many important advances since then, e.g. fluorescence and laser microscopy.
Someone should fix this ;)

mikroBIOMIK has a strong focus on microscopy. If interested, please write to microscopy@mikrobiomik.org


Over the next few days, weeks, months and years, we want to build a collection of microscopic images and videos. We've already collected a lot of material and have to think about how we can display it.
Here are some impressions of the different methods we are working with at the moment.


This "classical" version of microscopy magnifies a sample according to the laws of optics: light is refracted by (glass)-lenses and produces a larger image of the object. Many variations exist (e.g., light and dark field) that are useful for different purposes.

The most simple microscopes consist of a single lens and work like a magnifying glass. In compound microscopes, the path of the light is a bit more complicated. Hopefully we will write a chapter about this soon.

A few impressions:

DIY microscopes

With the lens of a cheap laser pointer or webcam, you can use your smartphone or computer to magnify small insects and other creatures that live on the edge of the visible world. This is where macro photography and microscopy meet.

If you happen to find a really good lens, it is even possible to see bacteria and other microbes, but its a bit tricky to get the focus right. For nice instructions on how to built a webcam-microscope, look into the hackteria wiki .

Electron microscopy

This type of microscopy is something we unfortunately can not (yet) do at home. Electron microscopy is unparalleled concerning magnification and image quality but can only be performed with dead specimen.

Many thanks to Prof. Paul Walther for cooperating with us and Tim Berger for sharing his images. In the next months we will collect more pictures and want to figure out how to use them in an interactive way...