A micrograph, or photomicrograph, is a photograph or digital image taken through a microscope or similar device to show a magnified image of an item. This is opposed to a macrographic image, which is at a scale that is visible to the naked eye.
Micrographs are widely used in all fields of microscopy.
A light micrograph or photomicrograph is a micrograph prepared using an optical microscope, a process referred to as photomicroscopy. At a basic level, photomicroscopy may be performed simply by hooking up a regular camera to a microscope, thereby enabling the user to take photographs at reasonably high magnification.
Roman Vishniac was a pioneer in the field of photomicroscopy, specializing in the photography of living creatures in full motion. He also made major developments in light-interruption photography and color photomicroscopy.
An electron micrograph is a micrograph prepared using an electron microscope. However, the term electron micrograph is not used in electron microscopy. Common designation is a micrograph.
Digital micrograph is a digital picture obtained either directly with a microscope or by scanning of a photomicrograph. The terms usage is somewhat confusing, since today photo usually means digital photography anyway. Digital micrographs are now commonly obtained using a USB microscope attached directly to a home computer or laptop.
Magnification and micron bars
Micrographs usually have micron bars, or magnification ratios, or both.
Magnification is a ratio between size of object on a picture and its real size. Unfortunately, magnification is somewhat a misleading parameter. It depends on a final size of a printed picture, and therefore varies with variation in picture size. Editors of journals and magazines routinely resize a figure to fit the page, making any magnification number provided in the figure legend incorrect. A scale bar, or micron bar, is a bar of known length displayed on a picture. The bar can be used for measurements on a picture. When a picture is resized a bar is also resized. If a picture has a bar, the magnification can be easily calculated. Ideally, all pictures destined for publication/presentation should be supplied with a scale bar; the magnification ratio is optional. All but one (limestone) of the micrographs presented on this page do not have a micron bar; supplied magnification ratios are likely incorrect, as they were not calculated for pictures at the present size.
Measurements of a large Colpodium at 400x.
Measurements of a large amoeba at 400x.
Snowflake micrograph by Wilson Bentley, 1890
- Make a Micrograph – This presentation by the research department of Children's Hospital Boston shows how researchers create a three-color micrograph.
- Shots with a Microscope – a basic, comprehensive guide to photomicrography
- Scientific photomicrographs – free scientific quality photomicrographs by Doc. RNDr. Josef Reischig, CSc.
- International Year of Natural Fibres 2009
- QuickPHOTO Photomicrography Software - trial version available for downloading