UNIT 2.2 Basic Confocal Microscopy

  1. Carolyn L. Smith

Published Online: 1 MAY 2001

DOI: 10.1002/0471142301.ns0202s00

Current Protocols in Neuroscience

Current Protocols in Neuroscience

How to Cite

Smith, C. L. 2001. Basic Confocal Microscopy. Current Protocols in Neuroscience. 00:2.2:2.2.1–2.2.13.

Author Information

  1. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Bethesda, Maryland

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 MAY 2001
  2. Published Print: SEP 1997

This is not the most recent version of the article. View current version (1 JUL 2011)


Confocal microscopy produces sharp images of structures within relatively thick specimens (up to several hundred microns). It is particularly useful for examining fluorescent specimens. This overview intended to provide background and practical tips needed to get started with confocal microscopy. It begins with a description of the basis of optical sectioning, then discusses various types of confocal microscopes, and concludes with practical guidelines for sample preparation and optimizing image acquisition parameters.