Haustein, E. and Schwille, P.
Trends in fluorescence imaging and related technqiues to unravel biological information.  HFSP Journal 1: 169-180 (2007).

Optical microscopy is among the most powerful tools that the physical sciences have ever provided biology. It is indispensable for basic lab work, as well as for cutting edge research, as the visual monitoring of life processes still belongs to the most compelling evidences for a multitude of biomedical applications. Along with the rapid development of new probes and methods for the analysis of laser induced fluorescence, optical microscopy over past years experienced a vast increase of both new techniques and novel combinations of established methods to study biological processes with unprecedented spatial and temporal precision. On the one hand, major technical advances have significantly improved spatial resolution. On the other hand, life scientists are moving toward three- and even four-dimensional cell biology and biophysics involving time as a crucial coordinate to quantitatively understand living specimen. Monitoring the whole cell or tissue in real time, rather than producing snap-shot-like two-dimensional projections, will enable more physiological and, thus, more clinically relevant experiments, whereas an increase in temporal resolution facilitates monitoring fast nonperiodic processes as well as the quantitative analysis of characteristic dynamics.