Nikon Debuts C1 3-Laser Unit Featuring New Compact Design, Solid State Lasers and Software

nov. 10, 2003

Nikon Instruments Inc., a world leader in precision optics manufacturing, today announced new configurations of its C1 Digital Eclipse Modular Confocal Microscope System with superior system design, innovative laser features for positioning and selection, and additional software providing advanced instrument control. Combining optical and electronic technologies the new C1 System utilizes a new 3-laser unit and Nikon's CFI60 optics, and delivers state of the art resolution, contrast, and fluorescence image brightness.

The C1's new system includes a new compact and lightweight design, which allows greater flexibility when installing, repositioning, and servicing the laser unit. An improved fiber attachment reduces the chance of accidental damage to the single mode launch fiber. Additionally, the new C1 offers enhanced features to provide increased flexibility in selecting and positioning lasers: with the Argon ion laser mounted in the center position, a wide variety of Helium Neon and solid state lasers can be installed. New choices in solid-state lasers offered at 408, 440, 561, and 635 nm along with directly modulated solid-state lasers are also available.

Complementary to adjustment improvements, the long-term stability of alignment has been enhanced, which is particularly important in the stability of Confocal Time Series Transmission DIC Imaging. The variable independent attenuation for each laser can be varied continuously from 0 to 100%. Marked stepwise gradations allow precise repeatable adjustment of power for experiments that must be repeated under identical imaging conditions.

In addition to these new features, the C1 system maintains the largest number of laser types, detection channels, and easily interchanges filters to quickly match fluorescent dyes and probes. It also supports any imaging technique, including: simultaneous 3-channel confocal fluorescence, confocal fluorescence plus diascopoic DIC, time-lapse recording, and spatial analysis. The C1 System continues to utilize its intuitive GUI (graphical user interface) software for multifaceted microscopic analysis ensuring easy installation.

The system is also equipped with VBA macro language, allowing users to string together keystrokes and mouse-clicks to create customized acquisition routines and save them for repeated use. An optional AOM (Acousto Optical Modulators) control upgrade can be installed in front on any two lasers with Gaussian beam profiles. This allows for the computer controlled beam attenuation and beam blanking necessary for FRAP (fluorescence photobleaching recovery). A selection of standard macros, including FRAP and FRET, is also included. Ratio fluorescence EZC1 v. 2.1 allows the display of a live update graph of fluorescence intensity data simultaneously with the display image. This ensures direct control of the AOM devices in front of gas lasers, and also directly modulates the new solid-state laser selections.

Advanced merge functions include the ability to merge stacks of fluorescence confocal data with single frame transmission images, which permits exact matching of confocal data frames with DIC section thickness. Also, transparency and brightness of all merged frames is independently controllable: advanced 4D animation features moves of step within a stack over time, or a projection of a stack by either maximum projection or sum projection over time requires just a few mouse clicks.

The C1 System incorporates the CFI60 Optical System, designed to achieve higher numerical apertures, longer working distances, and correct for axial and lateral chromatic aberration in the objective and tube lens. Image sizes of up to 2K by 2K at 12 bit image depth can easily be scanned, while simultaneously acquiring three confocal fluorescence channels and one scanning transmission channel at 2048 by 2048 pixel acquisition at 12 bit digitization. In addition, advanced scanning capabilities are just a mouse click away, including 2D (XY, XZ, XT), 3D (XYZ, XYT), and 4D (XYZT) plus movable region of interest and bi-directional scanning. The system also comprises a technologically advanced scan head, which maximizes contrast while reducing reflection loss on the I/O ends of the optical fiber, and increases efficiency of the fluorescence signal. All in account, this system obtains a fluorescence image 3X brighter than previous Nikon models and increases the S/N ratio 7-fold over previous Nikon models.