Application of 3D visualization and analysis techniques to the field of microscopy has grown significantly in recent years [8,17,37,40,47,64]. These techniques have been successfully applied in light and electron microscopy, but the advent of confocal microscopy and other 3D microscope modalities have led to the rapid growth of 3D visualization of microscopic structures. Light microscope images digitized directly from the microscope can provide a 3D volume image by incrementally adjusting the focal plane, usually followed by image processing to deconvolve the image, removing the blurred out-of-focus structures. Similarly, electron microscopy will generate multiple planes by controlling the plane of focus, with further processing necessary for selective focal plane reconstruction. Confocal microscopy, however, uses laser energy with precise
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