The Advanced Imaging Unit currently has a few microscopes divided in four categories.

  1. Stereoscopes: If your samples are not on the small size, you need an overview of your organism, have a plate with fluorescent signals or just need to dissect with fluorescence we have a decent selection of options at the UIC. Reservations are available here.
  2. Brightfield and Widefield Fluorescence Microscopes: A wide-field fluorescence microscope uses a lamp, e.g. a Mercury arc lamp, to illuminate and excite the specimen. This is a fast and economical way to obtain fluorescent images, which can be viewed directly with your eyes through the ocular or captured with a camera. Thin specimens that do not require confocal imaging might be better analyzed using a conventional widefield microscope as it offers unsurpassed signal to noise. Reservations are available here.
  3. Confocal Microscopes: Confocal microscopy offers several advantages over conventional widefield optical microscopy, including the ability to control depth of field, elimination or reduction of background information away from the focal plane (that leads to image degradation), and the capability to collect serial optical sections from thick specimens. Reservations are available here.
  4. Super-Resolution: Super-resolution techniques improve the ability to visualize structures that are much smaller than the optical resolution limit, allowing to observe smaller structures or structures that are very close together. This techniques can be more complex and may require post-processing to fully obtain an image but can prove to be great allies to research.
  5. Other advanced techniques: On this section, we have other techniques that do not fit into the above mentioned ones, such as OPT or SPIM (light-sheet) which are designed to answer different questions that conventional microscope is not capable of. Such as visualizing the development of live big samples as full drosophila or zebra fish embryos, observing a whole organ inside a mouse embryo, etc.


  • Hamamatsu Aequoria | Reservations

    The Aequoria MDS system is a macroscopic system to acquire luminescence in large samples like living large organisms, bacterial plates, plants or well plates, making it suitable for high-throughput screens. With an EMCCD chip it can detect the smallest signals on your samples with ease.

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  • Hamamatsu Aequoria

Brightfield and Widefield Fluorescence Microscopes

  • Nikon HCScreening | Reservations

    The Nikon HCS is an inverted widefield microscope with complete automation possibility. This microscope allows users to acquire large amounts of data with ease by giving instructions to the software at the beginning and it will do the rest. It is equipped with a sCMOS Andor Zyla camera with a large field of view and a chip size of 2048x2048, with both high and low magnification objectives for a quick screen with low magnification and then a higher resolution image after object identification.

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  • Nikon HCS

Laser Scanning Confocal Microscopes

  • SP5 Inverted
  • Leica SP5 Inverted | Reservations

    Confocal microscopy permits one to optically section a fluorescent sample (such as a cell that has been stained with contrasting fluorescent dyes) with superior resolution by using a pinhole to reject light that originates outside of the chosen area. By collecting a series of such images through the depth of a sample, the user may assemble a highly accurate three-dimensional reconstruction of the entire sample. The Leica SP5 confocal microscope is equipped with a spectral head that employs a prism, movable slits, mirrors, and computer control to permit the operator to choose which bands of light at specific wavelengths will be focused simultaneously onto each of three photomultiplier detectors. This system also allows emission spectra (with 5-nm resolution) to be collected from a diffraction-limited-size spot.

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Super-Resolution microscopes

  • Deltavision OMX (SIM) | Reservations

    The Deltavision OMX is a structured illumination super-resolution microscope that allows the visualization of structures or objects bellow the theoretical limit of resolution. This microscope technique uses the structured illumination approach which is simple to use and gives fast results with minimal to medium processing, allowing users to obtain super resolution images with ease. The resolution limit of this technique is about half the theoretical limit of conventional microscopes at about 100nm.

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  • Deltavision OMX

  • dSTORM
  • dSTORM (SMLM) | Reservations

    The dSTORM is another super-resolution microscope based on single molecule localization microscopy technique, more specifically, Stochastic Optical Reconstruction Microscopy. This technique relies on acquiring a big number of frames over time to distinguish different molecules while still pin pointing their location with high accuracy. The temporal distinction is achieved by inducing a "dark" triple state of energy which will not emit fluorescent light, allowing a distinction between different fluorophores in very small spaces, even bellow the actual resolution limit. This technique is easy to use but the sample preparation can be tricky and it requires big data storage and high processing power and expertise to properly reconstruct reliable and useful data.

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Other Advanced techniques

  • Lightseet Microscope | Reservations

    Light Sheet Microscopy (LSM) is a fluorescence microscopy technique, where the illumination is done perpendicularly to the detection. The technique shapes the illumination laser beam into a rectangle and then focuses it down only in one direction, using a cylindrical lens (SPIM) or galvanometric mirrors (DSLM). This forms a thin "sheet of light" right in the focal plane of the detection objective, illuminating the whole sample plane at the same time. A CMOS camera records the fluorescent signal. This allows obtaining images of a big area in a fast way with a good sectioning of the sample and out-of-focus light suppression. LSM is especially well suited for the investigation of the development of large samples to study features (such as gene expression patterns) that require high resolution while being extended over a large volume and a long period of time. It has been successfully used to track developmental processes on Zebra fish, Drosophila fly, C. elegans nematodes or Arabidopsis plants among others.

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  • Light-sheet/OpenSPIM

  • OPenT
  • OPenT | Reservations

    The OPenT microscope is a Optical Projection Tomography system which allows to see big samples such as whole organs or embryos without having to open them or taking the organ out. Samples need to be clear and transparent. This system works basically as a CT scan but uses light instead of x-rays for the image acquisition. For more details, advantages and limitations, please speak with the Advanced Imaging personnel.

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