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Physicists Explore Microscopic Systems Through Holographic Video

While this news item from Science Daily/EurekAlert doesn't mention microbes, it really makes you wonder what it would be like to see a holographic bacterium and if this technology can be applied. From reading this article I see no reason why it can't.

"The technique, developed in the laboratory of NYU Physics Professor David Grier, is comprised of two components: making and recording the images of microscopic systems and then analyzing these images.

To generate and record images, the researchers created a holographic microscope, which is based on a conventional light microscope. But instead of relying on an incandescent illuminator, which conventional microscopes employ, the holographic microscope uses a collimated laser beam—a beam consisting of a series of parallel rays of light and similar to a laser pointer.

When an object is placed into path of the microscope's beam, the object scatters some of the beam's light into a complex diffraction pattern. The scattered light overlaps with the original beam to create an interference pattern reminiscent of overlapping ripples in a pool of water. The microscope then magnifies the resulting pattern of light and dark and records it with a conventional digital video recorder (DVR). Each snapshot in the resulting video stream is a hologram of the original object. Unlike a conventional photograph, each holographic snapshot stores information about the three-dimensional structure and composition of the object that created the scattered light field."
 
 

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