Nikon Instruments and Thorlabs Together Bring OCT Imaging to the FN1 'Physiostation' Microscope

Nov 17, 2008

Pairing Allows Deep Imaging for Live Cell and Live Animal Researchers

Nikon Instruments, Inc. and Thorlabs, Inc. have collaborated to bring Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) to Nikon's FN1 "PhysioStation" upright focusing nosepiece microscope system for Neurophysiology and in vivo, small-animal studies. Ideal for neuroscience and electrophysiology applications, 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.

The unique system was customized by Thorlabs specifically for Nikon's FN1 microscope system. It offers rapid 3D imaging capabilities based on a relatively low magnification objective, making the full system ideal for live-animal imaging. Utilizing a special non-destructive wavelength-swept infra-red laser, the OCT system acquires data from deep within the specimen, giving researchers a real-time 2D slice view (up to 3 mm deep by 10 mm long) of the specimen. Counterstaining or labeling of the specimen is not necessary, making preparation easy. High resolution 3D volume reconstructions can be made of specimens by rastering the low-powered laser field.

"In pairing the FN1 microscope with Thorlabs' OCT technology, we are able to complement our traditional widefield and confocal imaging systems by providing a similar but more macro view," said Stan Schwartz, vice president, Nikon Instruments, Inc. "The large image penetration depth allows for non-invasive, 3D imaging of samples, which previously could not be imaged without dissection."

All of the traditional optical microscope imaging techniques, such as DIC, Oblique Illumination, IR-DIC and multiple wavelength Epifluorescence, are maintained on this system, even when combined with the OCT modality. A simple lever change can engage the OCT imaging or the system can be used in the normal modes. The OCT imaging mode can provide a 3D overview of the large field of view so that the location of specific morphology structures can be targeted easily.

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