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Learn about new microscopic technology on this Moment of Science.

SPIM stands for Selective Plane Illumination Microscopy. SPIM is a new kind of microscope technology. It provides a significantly sharper image than current microscopes, and it also allows one to study living organisms without destroying or harming them.

SPIM uses very thin slices of light to illuminate one section of a sample at a time, a process that inflicts little damage to a specimen. This process is why SPIM provides images that are five times sharper than those of current microscopes. SPIM also enables a viewer to study a living organism from many different angles and layers.

The machine moves the specimen through the slice of light to take images from each layer, resulting in a clear and detailed three-dimensional image. SPIM takes mere minutes to create detailed images, and it actually costs about one- third less to manufacture than the current microscope technologies.

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