How is the formula for resolving power of a microscope derived?

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August 19, 2008 1:09PM

Resolution is the ability of a lens to separate or distinguish between small objects that are close together. Much of the optical theory underlying microscope design was developed by the German physicist Ernst Abbe in the 1870s. The minimum distance (d) between two objects that reveals them as separate entities is given by the Abbe equation, in which lambda () is the wavelength of light used to illuminate the specimen and n sin theta is the numerical aperture (NA). d= .5 x lambda n sin theta