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 HCS
  • 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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  • Zeiss Imager Z2
  • Zeiss Imager Z2

    The Zeiss Imager Z2 + Apotome is a fully automated upright microscope equipped with two cameras: A color camera (used for brighfield) and a monochromatic camera (for fluorescence). The microscope is equipped for fluorescence, differential interference contrast (DIC) and darkfield. With a fully motorized stage (XYZ), the system is capable of z-stacks, multiple positions and tile & stitching acquisition. The imager is also equipped with the ApoTome.2, a module that allows optical sectioning of fluorescent samples using structured illumination. Despite the need to process apotome images, it is still faster than a laser scanning confocal, so it should be tested as an alternative for thin samples that require a higher throughput than that possible with the SP5 and LSM980.

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Laser Scanning and Spinning Disk Confocal Microscopes

  • Zeiss LSM 980 | Reservations

    The Zeiss LSM 980 is an inverted microscope equipped with a laser scanning head with a total of 5 detectors, one of which can be split into multiple spectral detecotrs. The LSM980 can achieve non-diffraction limited optical sectioning with resolutions down to 140nm. The AiryScan2 also allows acquisition in “Multiplexing” mode(s), which accelerates the acquisition speed (up to 8x faster than normal confocal) and a sensitivity mode that enhances the signal-to-noise acquisition. The microscope is also equipped with a dark heating and athmospheric control chamber to allow live imaging of mammalian cells.

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  • Zeiss LSM 980

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

Other Advanced techniques

  • Lightsheet 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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