Question Video: Explaining What Is Meant by the Term Resolution in Microscopy | Nagwa Question Video: Explaining What Is Meant by the Term Resolution in Microscopy | Nagwa

Question Video: Explaining What Is Meant by the Term Resolution in Microscopy Biology • First Year of Secondary School

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Which of the following best defines resolution? [A] Resolution is the number of different structures that can be identified in an image. [B] Resolution is the minimum distance apart that two objects can be in order for them to appear as separate items. [C] Resolution is calculated as the magnifying power of the objective lens divided by the magnifying power of the eyepiece. [D] Resolution is how many times bigger the image is compared to the actual object.

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Video Transcript

Which of the following best defines resolution? (A) Resolution is the number of different structures that can be identified in an image. (B) Resolution is the minimum distance apart that two objects can be in order for them to appear as separate items. (C) Resolution is calculated as the magnifying power of the objective lens divided by the magnifying power of the eyepiece. Or (D) resolution is how many times bigger the image is compared to the actual object.

You may recall that a microscope is a piece of equipment used in biology to produce an image of an object that is too small to be seen with the naked eye. To be able to draw useful conclusions from microscope images, we need to know two important properties. These are magnification and resolution.

Magnification is how many times bigger the image is compared to the actual object. We can therefore eliminate answer option (D) because it is not the correct definition for resolution.

Resolution, which is what this question is asking us about, is the ability of a microscope to distinguish detail. Let’s have a look at an example. These images are both of the same two cells. But they have been taken with microscopes of different resolutions, as indicated in pink. In the image on the left, we cannot make out the cells as two separate objects because they are closer together than the resolution allows us to distinguish. In the image on the right, because the resolution is better, even though the cells are the same distance apart, we are able to distinguish them as two separate objects.

This is what resolution values tell us. For example, with a resolution of 200 nanometers, we are unable to distinguish between objects that are closer together than 200 nanometers. It’s important to be careful when talking about resolution, as better resolution is often misleadingly referred to as higher resolution, when in fact the value will actually be smaller.

We have therefore determined that of the remaining answer options, the correct one is (B). Resolution is the minimum distance apart that two objects can be in order for them to appear as separate items.

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