Confocal fluorescence microscopy is widely used to obtain high-resolution images of biological specimens; however, the speed of most standard commercial instruments is insufficient to resolve the temporal dynamics of many cellular events. The high purchase price and expensive service charges of multi-laser confocal microscopes prohibits their use in many laboratories.
A new digital microscope has been developed at the University of Leicester that confronts these challenges by being:
- Economical: A confocal module has been developed which can be added on to a standard fluorescent imaging system to produce a high speed, multi-wavelength confocal microscope. The system is entirely digital, has no chromatic aberration and uses low cost LEDs instead of lasers.
- Rapid: It collects images at speeds up to 100 times faster than a standard scanning microscope and delivers an equivalent image resolution.
- Versatile: The degree of confocal sectioning can be freely adjusted through software between widefield and maximum confocal sectioning to provide video rate images at high spatial resolution. The system allows programmable illumination for photoactivation.
- Super-resolution: Structured illumination combined with a patented software analysis process allows collection of super-resolution images with a > 2 fold improvement in lateral and axial resolution.