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Optical microscopes are used to study objects that are too small to be seen with the naked eye. This can be organic cells, semiconductor surfaces, or even single molecules. There are two different approaches in optical microscopy, either detecting near-field (SNOM) or far-field signals emitted by the investigated materials.

There are various methods for optical microscopy that utilize different light sources. For some microscopy techniques a simple white light source is sufficient, whereas more sophisticated methods require lasers as light source. Those can be single-mode diode lasers or multi-laser engines that deliver a continuous laser beam at one or several colors, some techniques rely on short laser pulses with femtosecond duration that can be provided by TOPTICA's ultrafast fiber lasers.