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Carl Zeiss Tests New Product Line in Laboratories

Published on June 29, 2009 at 7:00 AM

Carl Zeiss will launch a new product line for high resolution microscopy this year. Thanks to the combination of two techniques in ZEISS microscopes - HR-SIM (High Resolution Structured Illumination Microscopy) and PAL-M (Photoactivated Localization Microscopy) - biomedical scientists are able to examine objects at maximum resolution.

“The two techniques – integrated into our state-of- the-art microscope systems – add a new dimension to fluorescence microscopy, thus enabling new approaches and experiments in all disciplines of biomedical research,” stated Dr. Ulrich Simon, President and CEO of Carl Zeiss MicroImaging GmbH. “We are confident that these techniques will continue to allow the users of ZEISS microscopes to achieve pioneering results in science.”

In internationally renowned research laboratories, ten microscope systems featuring the new techniques are currently being tested to establish whether they meet user requirements. Catherine and James Galbraith, both biomedical scientists from Bethesda, Maryland, are two of the first users of the new system. They are convinced that high resolution light microscopy holds great promise as a research tool. “With the explosive growth of super-resolution microscopy and the impact that it is having on biology, the integration of PAL-M and HR-SIM into a single platform has the unique advantage of localizing individual molecules and placing them in the context of images that have twice the resolution of conventional techniques”, says James Galbraith. Catherine Galbraith adds: “Being able to visualize and interpret the position of molecules at the nanometer scale is letting us ask questions that we never dreamed asking, let alone answering.”

One of the major benefits of HR-SIM is the enlargement of spatial resolution in all three dimensions, made possible by projecting a special illumination pattern onto the specimen. This permits the multicolored visualization of structures with a lateral resolution of approximately 120 nanometers. The technique HR-SIM, which is compatible with standard specimen preparation techniques, allows the examination of model organisms now generally used in biomedical research. Carl Zeiss developed the software for the technique together with Dr. Rainer Heintzmann, a scientist at King’s College in London, UK.

The PAL-M technique enables a new dimension in fluorescence microscopy because cell structures can be observed with a resolution of about 20 nanometers for the first time. This is an order of magnitude higher than conventional fluorescence techniques. In 2007, Carl Zeiss received the exclusive marketing license for PAL-M from Dr. Eric Betzig and Dr. Harald Hess from the Janelia Farm Research Campus of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Virginia, USA.

The HR-SIM and PAL-M high resolution techniques will be presented to the public at the end of the year.

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