A new microscopic technique will be presented for imaging surface topography and the locally varying surface tension of the object. With this technique it is possible to image the locally varying chemical composition of the specimen surface on a microscopic scale because the surface tension depends on the chemical composition. The imaging technique can be described as follows: By a simple preparation technique a thin (thickness several microns) liquid layer (e.g. immersion oil), is placed on the surface of the specimen. The resulting surface tension forces the boundary of the liquid layer to move. As the surface tension is a function of the location the boundary is modulated according to the magnitude of the surface tension at each place. Thus registering the shape of the moving boundary of the liquid layer at equidistant time intervals yields information on the specimen surface. The shape of the moving boundary is detected by a light microscope with differential interference contrast in combination with an image analysis system suited for real-time processing of image sequences in a threshold detection mode.