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The Tiny World of Microscopic Imaging

a flat mite that feeds on coffee plants

The ARS Electron and Confocal Microscopy Unit assists a diverse group of scientists needing microscopic imaging for their research projects. The facility is equipped with state-of-the-art microscopes and microscopy technologies capable of producing high-resolution, digital images of many of the most important pests and pathogens affecting agriculture.

Researchers here can flash freeze mites in liquid nitrogen to create striking “snapshots” as they feed, use a laser-scanning confocal microscope to make accurate 3D images, and use a 3D printer to create models from the images.

Their images have won scientific photography awards, graced the covers of prestigious scientific journals, and enhanced our scientific understanding of many microbes, pests, and pathogens that attack crops, infect livestock, and make people sick.

See some stunning images in "Opening a Window to an Unseen World."