The University of New England's Microscope Core Facility, located in the Pickus Center for Biomedical Research on UNE's Biddeford Campus and funded by NSF Grant #1125672, includes an Atomic Force Microscope and a Leica SP5 Scanning Laser Confocal Microscope. The highly visual nature of a photomicrograph lends itself to numerous creative ways of stimulating discussion and helps bridge a widening technology gap between public and research; the Facility’s mission is to serve as a focal point by connecting UNE, our collaborators, and local educational communities. The Facility supports and encourages the use of its microscopes in student activities and research.
The Leica TCS SP5 confocal microscope utilizes a unique tandem system, with a conventional scanner offering true confocal data acquisition along with a resonance scanner delivering additional high-speed sensitivity, especially useful for imaging live samples. UNE students use this microscope to perform research in their subject areas. These activities often yield surprisingly beautiful results, a fact which led to the development of UNE's Annual Student Confocal Image Competition. Images are created utilizing either Leica software or by augmenting the image with other creative applications, and are entered in the competition in either an altered or unaltered category. The images in this gallery represent first, second, and third-place winners from each category.