The origin of the FOM conference series lies in the three-dimensional imaging capabilities of confocal microscopy, together with the associated 3D image processing. Since then the technology for optical microscopy has progressed with the development of opto-electronic technologies such as femtosecond lasers, nanometric precision scanners and stages, highly sensitive photo-detectors, emergence of new optical approaches and image processing and analysis techniques.

Equally important for the field was the development of sophisticated fluorescent reporters. Utilizing these, fluorescence life-time, FCS and other fluorescence analysis techniques have become essential tools, permitting the determination of the presence and activation of specific biological entities inside biological materials at sub-micron resolutions. Nonlinear optical microscopy like multi-photon excited fluorescence microscopy, second-harmonic and coherent anti-Stokes Raman facilitate imaging based on new contrasts like molecular composition.

The resolution capabilities in microscopy have been extended via near-field scanning optical microscopy, four-pi confocal microscopy, and coherence probe microscopy. The last years especially have seen the successful realization of sub-Abbe resolution optical imaging by a number approaches to such a degree that the term nanoscopy has been rightfully been introduced.

These developments have been reported in the FOM conferences, started in 1988. The programs of the conferences of the last 10 years can be found on this website under button "History". For the conferences from 2004 the various presentations are available together with one page PDF abstracts, this combined with a "Search" function.

The FOM conferences constitute an effective meeting point for developers and users working in this rapidly evolving field, playing an important role in the dissemination of information about new developments. The FOM conferences are accompanied by a technical exhibition showing the recent technical developments in microscopy and associated techniques.

The present Focus on Microscopy 2015 conference in Göttingen incorporates and can be seen as a continuation of the