Posts from: June 2014
Two of the key parameters that describe the performance of the optical microscope are its resolution and its field-of-view. In fact, these two parameters are coupled: switching to a higher magnification objective will improve the resolution, but also tend to reduce the field-of-view. This trade-off is encapsulated in the idea of the space-bandwidth product, which is (conceptually at least) a measure of how many useful pixels of information an imaging system can transmit. Typical microscopes and microscope objectives are limited to around 10 Megapixels; if we make these pixels smaller by increasing the resolution then the area covered must be reduced as well. So if we want to image large areas at high resolution, as we might want to do in histology for example, then we have to mechanically scan the slide underneath the microscope and stitch multiple images together.