Resolving power

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The ability to separate two points in an image. The resolving power for a microscope is inversely proportional to numerical aperture of the object lens. Thus, optical lenses with low numerical apertures give better resolution than those with high values. The human eye can resolve to about 100 micrometers. Compound microscopes can resolve down to 1 micrometer while electron microscopes can resolve details as small as 0.01 micrometer. The resolving power of a microscope is much more important than its magnification. The same term with the same meaning is used for photographic or radiographic films, or pixelised solid state photographic sensors or radiographic detectors.

Synonyms and Related Terms

pouvoir de résolution (Fr.); Auflösungsvermögen (Deut.)

Sources Checked for Data in Record

  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • Walter C. McCrone, John Gustave Delly, The Particle Atlas, W. McCrone Associates, Chicago, IV, 1972
  • Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, Douglas M. Considine (ed.), Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1976

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