Keeping pace with developments in optical microscopy

6th April 2018

Photon Lines has recently added a number of new products to its portfolio, including the Re-scan Confocal Microscope (RCM) from Confocal.NL, a spin-out from the University of Amsterdam that was founded by leading scientists and industry veteran Peter Drent, formerly head of Nikon Europe. The RCM is a new super-resolution technique based on standard confocal microscopy which has been extended with an optical (re-scanning) unit that projects the image directly on to an sCMOS camera.

This new microscope has improved lateral resolution (170 nm at 488 nm light), and strongly improved sensitivity, while maintaining the sectioning capability of a standard confocal microscope. This technology is useful for biological applications, where the combination of high-resolution and high-sensitivity is required. View the video here

The Confocal.NL RCM is not the only optical microscope add-on that Photon Lines offers, there is also an elegant solution from the French company PhaseView, who manufacture the ALPHA3, which is designed to add light sheet imaging capabilities to existing microscopes. ALPHA3 offers the benefits of selective plane illumination microscopy for biological sample imaging,.

One of the most important aspects of any scientific analysis technique is the need for confidence in the measurement results, and although imaging is to a certain extent qualitative, it is imperative that microscopists can rely upon their instruments repeatability and accuracy. Until recently there was no long term solution available for testing this reliability, and Photon Lines was delighted to have the opportunity to work with Argolight, a spin-out from the LOMA and ICMCB laboratories at the University of Bordeaux, France. Argolight specialises in the modification of transparent materials by photonics processing, and the resulting test slides have extremely long lifetimes, not being subject to the photobleaching suffered by other techniques. They have a 3 year warranty as standard, a very conservative figure in view of their originally intended application being data storage, due to their inherent 300 year lifetimes! The only way to calibrate and monitor a fluorescence system is to reproduce the features the users wish to measure and to make those features extremely stable and perfectly known.

This solution allows you to monitor your system’s calibration, quantify the bias, and most importantly correct it.

Argolight is particularly proud of the list of reference customers who have shown confidence in their technology, not least of whom is a NASA contractor, who has used a custom slide on board the International Space Station to ensure the continuous alignment of their microscopes under low gravity conditions – click here for more details

From this elementary structure, any 3D fluorescent pattern can be imprinted in the material, from sub-micrometre to centimetre scales. The spectral features of the patterns are remarkable: the excitation and emission ranges are very broad, enabling any chromatic study. The patterns are excitable from 325 to 650 nm (with some limitation depending on the type of slide), and the emission is a continuum ranging from slightly above the excitation wavelength up to 800 nm. The lifetime of the fluorescence is within the nanosecond range.






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