Biooptics plays big at Neuroscience 2008

WASHINGTON, DC--More than 31,000 visitors to Neuroscience 2008, the Society for Neuroscience’s annual meeting, filled the halls of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center November 15–19.

WASHINGTON, DC--More than 31,000 visitors to Neuroscience 2008, the Society for Neuroscience’s annual meeting, filled the halls of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center November 15–19. While optics and photonics technologies were barely noticeable in the conference program, just the opposite was true of the exhibits. Unlike many biomedical industry events, Neuroscience featured numerous photonics and optics component suppliers--among them Coherent, Chroma Technology, Chromodynamics, Cooke, DPSS Lasers, Hamamatsu, Lumenera, Mad City Labs, Newport, Semrock, and Sutter Instruments.

As you would expect, the exhibit hall also hosted medical and research equipment companies ranging from the functional to the super sophisticated. Exhibitors like ASI/Applied Scientific Instrumentation, PI (Physik Instrumente) and Prior Scientific, featured microscopy stages and other research-enabling devices, while several molecular imaging companies--Advanced Research Technologies (ART), Caliper Life Sciences, Carestream Molecular, and Cri--showed their wares.

Lockheed Martin Aculight (Bothell, WA) promoted its Capella infrared nerve stimulator, a compact, low-cost system designed for medical research (see “Infrared nerve stimulation: Hearing by light,” BioOptics World, Nov/Dec 2008).

Cell imaging was a theme, as was evident in the booths of BD Biosciences and others. Olympus (Center Valley, PA) showcased its FSX100 Bio Imaging Navigator all-in-one microscope system among other products that address both ends of the microscopy spectrum and cater to either the high-end user or novice microscopists. The FSZ100 is a compact, innovative fluorescence microscope and camera combination that promises high quality microscope images with load-and-go simplicity. The system enables even first-time users to easily navigate through the few short steps to capture high-quality fluorescence images in moments.

Carl Zeiss MicroImaging (Jena, Germany) made perhaps the biggest splash by announcing four new fluorescence imaging systems--Cell Observer SD, a spinning disk microscope system for high-speed confocal imaging; LSM 700, an easy-to-use, affordable, high-performance personal confocal; LSM 7 MP, a dedicated multiphoton system offering flexibility in experimental design; and Laser TIRF 3, a reproducible and highly flexible system for total internal reflection microscopy (TIRF). Zeiss said these additions make its family of optical sectioning microscopes the largest on the market.

Zeiss also used Neuroscience 2008 to launch an educational website developed in collaboration with renowned imaging expert and online teaching pioneer Mike Davidson of Florida State University. The site, called Zeiss Online Campus, intends to be a “comprehensive and independent resource to learn about the latest techniques in fluorescence imaging.”

Both Zeiss and Visage Imaging showcased software working on autostereoscopic (meaning no need for red-and-blue glasses or other eyewear/headgear!) interactive 3-D displays by Tridelity. Tridelity (St. Georgen, Germany) uses a parallax barrier to produce a two-view, head-tracked display for single-viewer systems or a multiview display that supports multiple viewers.

Another announcement coming out of the show was the collaboration between Nikon (Melville, NY) and Thorlabs (Newton, NJ) to bring optical coherence tomography (OCT) to Nikon’s FN1 “PhysioStation” upright focusing nosepiece microscope system for neurophysiology and in vivo, small-animal studies. The new OCT system enables an imaging depth of 2–3 mm in biological tissue with a larger field of view than in conventional microscopy.

--Barbara Goode

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