The image formed by an optical microscope is not a perfect representation of an object. In fact, to form an image, the three-dimensional structure of the object must be collapsed to two dimensions. Deriving three-dimensional information from a two-dimensional image (or a series of images) is the aim of image restoration.
High-performance CCD cameras are used for digital image restoration because of their superior quantitative imaging characteristics. Coupled with advanced widefield microscopes and numerous algorithms for image restoration, this approach not only provides improved results over confocal techniques but can do so at comparable speeds and lower costs. Moreover, as opposed to a dedicated confocal instrument, a high-performance CCD camera can be utilized for numerous other experiments.
Image courtesy of Janos Demeter and Shelley Sazer; Department of Biochemistry, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX.