In the last few years there has been a resurgence in research on optical microscopes. One reason stems from the invention of the acoustic microscope by Quate and Lemons,1 and the realization that some of the same principles could be applied to the optical microscope. The acoustic microscope has better transverse definition for the same wavelength than the standard optical microscope and at the same time has far better range definition. Consequently, Kompfner, who was involved with the work on the early acoustic microscope, decided to try out similar scanning microscope principles with optics, and started a group with Wilson and Sheppard to carry out such research at Oxford.2 Sometime earlier, Petran et a13 had invented the tandem scanning microscope which used many of the same principles. Now, in our laboratory at Stanford, these ideas on the tandem scanning microscope and the scanning optical microscope are converging. Another aspect of this work, which stems from the earlier experience with the acoustic microscope, involves measurement of both phase and amplitude of the optical beam. It is also possible to use scanned optical microscopy for other purposes. For instance, an optical beam can be used to excite electrons and holes in semiconductors, and the generated current can be measured. By scanning the optical beam over the semiconductor, an image can be obtained of the regions where there is strong or weak electron hole generation. This type of microscope is called OBIC (Optical Beam Induced Current). A second application involves fluorescent imaging of biological materials. Here we have the excellent range definition of a scanning optical microscope which eliminates unwanted glare from regions of the material where the beam is unfocused.3 A third application is focused on the heating effect of the light beam. With such a system, images can be obtained which are associated with changes in the thermal properties of a material, changes in recombination rates in semiconductors, and differences in material properties associated with either acoustic or thermal effects.4,5 Thus, the range of scanning optical microscopy applications is very large. In the main, the most important applications have been to semiconductors and to biology.