UNIT 2.2 Basic Confocal Microscopy

  1. Carolyn L. Smith

Published Online: 1 JUL 2011

DOI: 10.1002/0471142301.ns0202s56

Current Protocols in Neuroscience

Current Protocols in Neuroscience

How to Cite

Smith, C. L. 2011. Basic Confocal Microscopy. Current Protocols in Neuroscience. 56:2.2:2.2.1–2.2.18.

Author Information

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

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 JUL 2011
  2. Published Print: JUL 2011


This unit introduces the reader to the basic principles of confocal microscopy and the design and capabilities of current confocal microscopes. The advantages and disadvantages of confocal microscopy compared to other techniques for fluorescence imaging are described. There are also practical guidelines for sample preparation and optimization of imaging parameters, as well as examples of some of the applications of confocal microscopy. Curr. Protoc. Neurosci. 56:2.2.1-2.2.18. © 2011 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


  • confocal microscopy;
  • fluorescence;
  • imaging;
  • resolution;
  • three-dimensional reconstruction