Advances in confocal, two-photon and light-sheet microscopy have rapidly advanced our understanding of cellular and subcellular structures and processes. However, live cell and whole animal imaging could be on the verge of even more breakthroughs following the publication in Nature Photonics of work by a team of Columbia University scientists using the fast and ultra-sensitive Andor Zyla sCMOS camera.
Led by Elizabeth Hillman, associate professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC), and her graduate student, Matthew Bouchard, the team has successfully developed the SCAPE (Swept Confocally Aligned Planar Excitation) 3D microscope, which eliminates the need to mount samples or other special preparation and is capable of imaging freely moving living samples in real-time at speeds 10 to 100 times faster than current laser-scanning microscopes.
According to Professor Hillman, “Unlike conventional light-sheet microscopes that utilize a pair of cumbersomely-positioned objective lenses, SCAPE uses a single-objective lens with a light sheet sweeping across the field of view to capture 3D images without moving the sample or the objective. This combination makes SCAPE extremely fast, versatile and simple to use, as well as surprisingly inexpensive, and could be transformative in bringing the ability to capture high-speed 3D cellular activity to a wide range of living samples. With the Andor Zyla sCMOS camera set to read out 2,560 x 80 micron images at 2,404 frames per second we have demonstrated the ability of SCAPE to image living organisms, including Drosophila melanogaster larvae and zebrafish at up to 48 volumes per second.
More information can be found here.