Nikon super resolution microscope incorporates SIM technology

Jan. 29, 2010
A super resolution microscope system from Nikon Instruments incorporates Structured Illumination Microscopy (SIM) technology licensed from the University of California, San Francisco (USCF) Office of Technology Management. With the N-SIM microscopy system biologists and neuroscience researchers will be able to view microstructures and nanostructures of fixed and living cells (time resolution of 0.6 s/frame) with molecular-scale resolution.

A super resolution microscope system from Nikon Instruments incorporates Structured Illumination Microscopy (SIM) technology licensed from the University of California, San Francisco (USCF) Office of Technology Management. With the N-SIM microscopy system biologists and neuroscience researchers will be able to view microstructures and nanostructures of fixed and living cells (time resolution of 0.6 s/frame) with molecular-scale resolution.

Mitochondria in a living NIH3T3 cell stained with MitoTracker Red. Total magnification: 250x



According to the company, the system can produce two times the resolution of conventional optical microscopes by combining the USCF SIM technology with its own CFI Apo TIRF 100x oil objective lens (N.A. 1.49), developed using unique optical technologies and manufacturing techniques. The SIM technology was developed by Mats G.L. Gustafsson, PhD; John W. Sedat, PhD; and David A. Agard, PhD, of UCSF; Agard
Is currently a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) inversitagor at UCSF and Gustafsson is a group leder at HHMI’s Janelia Research Campus.

Gustafsson spearheaded the initial work and introduce SIM in 2000 while at SCSF. SIM takes advantage of moiré patterns, which are produced by overlaying one pattern with another. The sample under the lens is observed while it is illuminated by a special grid pattern of light. Several different light patterns are applied and the resulting moiré patterns are captured each time by a digital camera. Computer software algorithms then extract the information in the moiré images and translate it into two- and three-dimensional, high-resolution reconstructions.

The newly developed TIRF-SIM illumination technique enables total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) observation with higher resolution than conventional TIRF microscopes and gives more detailed structural information near the cell membrane. In addition, another new 3D-SIM simulation technique has the capability of optical sectioning of specimens, enabling the visualization of more detailed cell spatial structures.

Nikon’s official name for the commercialized product is Super Resolution Microscope N-SIM. It will be available in May 2010.

Captions: Mitochondria in a living NIH3T3 cell stained with MitoTracker Red. Total magnification: 250x

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