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Diatom. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a Stephanopyxis sp. diatom.


Ruptured venule. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) showing stacks (rouleaux) of red blood cells exposed inside a torn venule. A venule is a very small blood vessel in the microcirculation that allows deoxygenated blood to return from the capillary beds to the larger blood vessels (veins). Red blood cells are the most abundant cell in the blood. They have no nucleus and are about 7 micrometers across. Magnification: x2300 when printed at 10 centimetres wide.


Brain tumour. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a glioma, a type of tumour that arises from glial cells of the central nervous system. The most common site for gliomas is the brain. They can be either low or high-grade, with the latter having the worse prognosis. Magnification: x8000 when printed at 10 centimetres wide. Credit: STEVE GSCHMEISSNER


Retina. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of rods (yellow) and cones (green) in the retina of the eye. The outer nuclear layer is purple. Magnification x1800 when printed at 10 centimetres wide. [F0010041] Incredible!!


Nerve bundle. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a freeze-fractured section through a bundle of myelinated nerve fibres. Myelin sheaths (yellow) can be seen surrounding the axons (blue). Perineurium (connective tissue, pink) surrounds the nerve bundle while endoneurium divides the individual fibres.


Fat tissue. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a sample of fat tissue, showing fat cells (adipocytes, blue) surrounded by fine strands of supportive connective tissue. Adipocytes are among the largest cells in the human body, each cell being 100 to 120 microns in diameter. Almost the entire volume of each fat cell consists of a single lipid (fat or oil) droplet. Adipose tissue forms an insulating layer under the skin, storing energy in the form of fat, which is obtained from…


Heart valve and strings, coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM). This is the tricuspid valve (upper right), seen from the right ventricle of the heart


Inner ear hair cells. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of sensory hair cells from the inner ear. These cells are surrounded by a fluid called endolymph. As sound enters the ear it causes waves to form in the endolymph, which in turn cause the hairs to move. The movement is converted to an electrical signal that is passed on to the brain. Each crescent-shaped arrangement of hairs lies atop a single cell.


A false-colour scanning electron micrograph of a pollen grain from a chickweed flower Picture: SUSUMU NISHINAGA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / BARCROFT MEDIA


Blood clot. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a blood clot from the inner wall of the left ventricle of a human heart. Red blood cells (erythrocytes) are trapped within a fibrin protein mesh (cream). The fibrin mesh is formed in response to chemicals secreted by platelets (pink), fragments of white blood cells. Clots are formed in response to cardiovascular disease or injuries to blood vessels. Connective tissue (orange) is also seen.