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Nikon Corporation Acquires License From Harvard University For “STORM” Super Resolution Microscopy -- Will Create Innovative New “N-STORM” Microscope

Dec 3, 2009

New N-STORM Super Resolution microscope system exceeds traditional diffraction limits by an order of magnitude and is capable of 3D image acquisition

Nikon Corporation, an innovator of advanced optical instruments, announced today that it has signed a licensing agreement with Harvard University granting Nikon the rights to use the Stochastic Optical Reconstruction Microscopy (STORM) technology. Under the terms of the agreement, Nikon will manufacture STORM enabled microscopy systems and market them with the N-STORM name.

Nikon Corporation President, Mr. Michio Kariya, and Nikon Instruments Inc. are pleased to announce the introduction of the N-STORM Super Resolution microscope system at the American Society For Cell Biology - 49th Annual Meeting (December 5-9, San Diego). The new microscope system incorporates the STORM methodology and is designed to realize resolution higher than ever before achieved by conventional optical microscopes.

The STORM technology is a novel advanced form of optical microscopy and provides a solution for the universal desire among life science researchers to observe tissues and cells more clearly. Optical microscopy is one of the most widely used imaging methods in biomedical research. However, the spatial resolution of optical microscopy, classically limited by the diffraction of light to several hundred nanometers, is substantially larger than typical molecular length scales in cells, leaving many biological investigations beyond the reach of light microscopy. To overcome this limit, a new form of high resolution light microscopy, STORM, was developed in the laboratory of Dr. Xiaowei Zhuang, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology and Professor of Physics at Harvard University. STORM uses photo-switchable fluorescent probes to temporally separate the otherwise spatially overlapping images of individual molecules, allowing the construction of super resolution images. Using this concept, two- and three-dimensional, multicolor fluorescence images of molecular complexes, cells and tissues with a few tens of nanometers resolution has been achieved. This new form of fluorescence microscopy allows molecular interactions in cells and cell-cell interactions in tissues to be imaged at the nanometer scale.

An order of magnitude better resolution than conventional optical microscopes

N-STORM is based on the world renowned Nikon Eclipse Ti research inverted microscope incorporating CFI60 objectives featuring high numerical apertures developed using unique optical design, coatings and manufacturing techniques. N-STORM provides dramatically enhanced resolution of that is 10 times or better than that of conventional optical microscopes. The N-STORM instrumentation will be capable of multi-spectral two-dimensional and three-dimensional nanoscopy, with lateral resolution to approximately 20nm and axial resolution to approximately 50nm, extending the role of the optical microscope to near molecular level resolution.

Image construction by overlaying single molecule images

The STORM method is new technology that reconstructs high resolution fluorescence images (2D and 3D) from localization information of fluorophores detected with high accuracy and calculated from multiple exposures. It generates much more information from detection of single molecule fluorescence emissions and goes one step further, from structural to molecular understanding of the specimen.

Three-dimensional information capability

The N-STORM Super Resolution microscope system will not only provide high-resolution two-dimensional image acquisition capability, but with the addition of a 3D optical device switchover built in the microscope, it will also acquire multi-color high-resolution fluorescence images of the same specimen in 3D, without the need for time consuming serial section acquisition.

“Nikon is highly anticipating this exciting development in super resolution, providing scientists with exceptional optical instrumentation that allows visualization of nanoscopic cellular structures and molecular activity at unprecedented image resolution,” states Stanley Schwartz, vice president, Nikon Instruments, Inc. “This level of clarity has never been attainable by conventional light microscopy in a commercialized and easy-to-use microscopy system. Nikon is excited about this collaboration and looks forward to progressing together with our design engineers and the Zhuang lab to extend the capabilities and uses of STORM microscopy.”

The N-STORM Super Resolution microscope system will be available for delivery in May 2010

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