The Best of Both Worlds: Combining Light Sheet and Confocal Microscopy

Dr Petra Haas

Dr. Florian Fahrbach


Living cells and organisms often suffer from the high light intensities that are used in conventional imaging. Light sheet microscopy reduces phototoxic effects and bleaching, by only illuminating a specimen in a single plane at a time whilst the signal is detected in a perpendicular direction. In combination with high-speed cameras for image acquisition, light sheet microscopy is a very gentle method to observe fast biological processes in sensitive organisms over an extended time period. By moving the sample along this plane, specimens are optically sectioned and imaged in 3D. These exciting possibilities led Nature Methods to cite light sheet imaging as their Method of the Year for 2014.

The new TCS SP8 DLS from Leica Microsystems turns light sheet microscopy vertically and combines light sheet and confocal microscopy in the proven Leica TCS SP8 confocal platform. It makes use of the unique TwinFlect mirror, which deflects the light sheet at a 90° angle. This allows the integration of the illumination and detection beam path into the vertical axis of an inverted confocal microscope without compromising confocal functionality. Confocal users benefit from high flexibility, easy sample handling, and the combination of confocal photomanipulation methods and light sheet microscopy.

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