Carl Zeiss prepping new high-res microscopes

June 29, 2009: Carl Zeiss says it will debut before year’s end a new line of high-resolution microscopes combining its HR-SIM (high-resolution structured illumination) and PAL-M (photoactivated localization) technologies, targeting biomedical research.

In a press release, Zeiss explains the benefit of HR-SIM, developed with King’s College in London, is enlarging 3D spatial resolution by projecting a special illumination pattern onto a specimen, which permits multicolored visualization of structures with ~120nm lateral resolution. The PAL-M technique, licensed from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, allows observation of cell structures with ~20nm resolution, an order of magnitude higher than conventional fluorescence techniques.

Ten of the new systems are now being tested at unidentified “internationally renowned” research labs, and “will be presented to the public at the end of the year.” One of those early adopters could be the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, MD (the Zeiss PR quotes two scientists, Catherine and James Galbraith, who appear to have ties there). “The integration of PAL-M and HR-SIM into a single platform has the unique advantage of localizing individual molecules and placing them in the context of images that have twice the resolution of conventional techniques,” stated James Galbraith. Added Catherine: “Being able to visualize and interpret the position of molecules at the nanometer scale is letting us ask questions that we never dreamed asking, let alone answering.”


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