In 1965, the Cambridge Scientific Instrument Company made available the first commercial scanning electron microscope (SEM). Less than a decade later, David Scharf combined his SEM skills with his love of photography to develop new groundbreaking methods to capture images that few have ever seen before.
One of his major contributions was to advance a technique of photographing living plants and animals at a time when the standard practice was to kill them beforehand. Years later, Scharf would develop his own patented method of colorizing these images using his SEM Multi-Detector Synthesizer.
On the pop culture side, one of Scharf’s micrographs was the first SEM to appear in a major motion picture, Blade Runner. In 2001, Scharf was awarded an Emmy for his leading-edge technique of generating HDTV footage using scanning electron microscopy for a National Geographic documentary.