Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory

A DOE Office of Science User Facility

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Super Resolution Fluorescence Microscope - Fast Confocal Airyscan

A recent addition to the super resolution fluorescence imaging capability is EMSL's Airyscan module, which provides 3-D imaging with superior detection sensitivity and speed compared with classical confocal microscopy, as well as structured illumination microscopy (SIM). The Airyscan can detect weak fluorescent signals, such as those emitted by fluorescent proteins expressed at low levels, and capture dynamic cellular processes in real time with 150 nanometer lateral resolution. The superior detection sensitivity of the Airyscan is achieved by replacing the classical pinhole in confocal microscopy with a 32 elements detector, where each element functions as a single, very small pinhole. Together, these elements collect the emitted photons with an exceptional efficiency that, in turn, allows increasing the speed of image acquisition for capturing dynamic processes in live cells.

All commonly used fluorescent proteins or dyes can be used for imaging by Airyscan. Studies that use this system focus, for example, on the spatial and temporal gene expression patterns, using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), targeting enzymes responsible for wood degradation by fungal hyphae, or nitrogenases in endophytic bacteria, as well as quantify lipid production in microorganisms. This system is also used to study the spatial and temporal protein expression patterns, using fluorescent proteins or antibodies, targeting proteins critical for stress response in plants, or enzymes important for cellulose degradation in microorganisms.

Figure caption: Image dynamic changes in the organization of the chromosome (green) in a cyanobacterial cell along the circadian rhythm.

Instrument ID:
Availability: 10 hours a day, 5 days a week


Galya Orr (509) 371-6127 Galya.Orr@pnnl.gov


No publications are available at this time.

Quick Specs

  • Resolution: 140 nm laterally and 400 nm axially

    Acquisition speed: 1 second per image.

    Lasers: 405, 458, 488, 514, 561, 633nm

    Temperature control

    Allows imaging of live, intact hydrated cells

    3-D imaging capabilities

    Uses standard fluorescent proteins and dyes

    Manufacturer: Carl Zeiss

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