Typically, researchers are trying to observe specific processes of interest in order to understand the underlying biological system. To do this, microscopists are often forced to hunt through large populations of cells or acquire hours of time-lapse footage before they are able to find the events of interest. In many cases, it's simply not possible to observe certain processes using conventional microscopy alone.
Targeted illumination techniques offer researchers a way of interacting with the sample. By taking advantage of properties such as photobleaching and photochromism, harnassing optogenetics, or employing cutting, ablating, or uncaging, targeted illumination can reveal specific signals, initiate biological cascades, and even alter specimen morphology.
These capabilities transform the microscopist from passive observer to instigator, and are hugely valuable when it comes to picking apart complex, compartmentalized biological mechanisms. Find out more about how to access additional layers of information from your specimens with this guide from Leica Microsystems!