Seeing Cells As They’re Meant To Be Seen: In 3-D

Here's the big picture

Cells At 40x Magnification
Source: Louisa Windus, at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia, studies how cancer cells grow and spread.Courtesy Louisa Windus

Cells live in a three-dimensional world, but until recently, scientists using fluorescence microscopes could see them well in only two dimensions. With advances in confocal microscopes, which use pinhole apertures to focus light on several planes, scientists can now view samples with depth, like these human prostate-cancer clusters.

This article originally appeared in the April 2014 issue of Popular Science.