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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.


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.


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.


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

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Ask Well: Ebola on Airplanes, Ebola in Sneezes

This digitally-colorized scanning electron micrograph (SEM) depicts a single filamentous Ebola virus particle that had budded from the surface of a VERO cell of the African green monkey kidney epithelial cell line under a very-high magnification. Produced by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). See:

Moss spore capsule (Tortula muralis var. muralis). Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of part of the opening mouth of a capsule (spore case) of moss. Mosses reproduce by means of spores at certain times during their life cycle. The spores are dispersed from the mouth of the capsule, dispersal aided by the wind. Magnification x1380


Ruptured capillary. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a red blood cell squeezing out of a torn capillary. A capillary is the smallest type of blood vessel, often only just large enough for red blood cells to pass through. Red blood cells (erythrocytes) are biconcave, disc-shaped cells that transport oxygen from the lungs to body cells. Credit: STEVE GSCHMEISSNER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY


Diatom. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of the Arachnoidiscus sp. diatom


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.