3-D micro-imaging technology licensed to Carl Zeiss Jena

May 28, 2004

NEW YORK -- Biomedical microscopic imaging deep inside living tissue with unprecedented clarity could become routine and widely available with the signing of technology-transfer and collaborative-research agreements today (May 28, 2004) by Carl Zeiss Jena GmbH, a leading maker of microscopy instrumentation, and by CCTEC, the technology, enterprise and commercialization arm of Cornell University.

The license for two-photon laser microscopy (also known as multiphoton microscopy, and protected by patents dating back to July 23, 1991) has been transferred from the British firm Bio-Rad Laboratories to Germany's Carl Zeiss. Both Bio-Rad and Carl Zeiss have been manufacturing confocal laser microscopes incorporating multiphoton technology.

Additionally, Carl Zeiss has signed collaboration and development agreements with Cornell, in Ithaca, N.Y., and with multiphoton microscopy co-inventor Watt W. At Cornell, Webb, a biophysicist, is director of the National Institutes of Health-funded Developmental Resource for Biophysical Imaging and Opto-electronics (DRBIO) and is the S.B. Eckert Professor in Engineering. Co-inventor Winfied Denk is a director of Germany's Max-Planck-Institute for Medical Research in Biomedical Optics.

Multiphoton microscopy produces high-resolution, three-dimensional images of tissues -- in the central nervous system, for example, or in pre-cancerous cells -- with minimal damage to living cells. The procedure begins when extremely short, intense pulses of laser light are directed at cells below the surface. The rapid-fire nature of multiphoton microscopy increases the probability that two or three photons will interact with individual biological molecules at the same time, combining their energies. The cumulative effect is the equivalent of delivering one photon with twice the energy (half the wavelength, in the case of two-photon excitation) or three times the energy (one-third the wavelength in three-photon excitation) to illuminate the smallest details. As a scanning laser microscope moves the focused beam of pulsed photons across a sample at a precise depth (plane of focus), cells above or below the plane are not affected. When repeated scans at different focal planes are "stacked" by computer processing, a brilliant, three-dimensional picture emerges.

Initially developed at Cornell to enhance basic biological research, multiphoton microscopy is proving to be a marked improvement over existing biomedical-imaging techniques. Wherever it is conducted -- in imaging of still-living tissue outside the body(ex vivo) or endoscopic imaging practically anywhere in the body(in vivo) -- multiphoton microscopy depicts cells and cellular processes in vivid, microscopic detail across the third and fourth (time) dimensions.

Ulrich Simon, head of microscopy at Carl Zeiss, said the Zeiss acquisition of Bio-Rad's Cell Science Division plus the collaboration with Cornell's DRBIO laboratory, and the German firm's experience in developing and manufacturing scientific instruments, will bring together the strongest forces in laser scanning microscopy to benefit biomedical science. "Today, Carl Zeiss stands for high-end laser scanning microscopes that are benchmark solutions for advanced applications in 3-D microscopy," Simon said. "Joining our forces will strengthen our relationship with Zeiss and Bio-Rad customers and will allow a considerable additional refinement of both companies' worldwide service and support network."

Bio-Rad, a pioneer in developing confocal microscopy and multiphoton technology, has had a long-term collaborative partnership with Cornell, said Webb. "Now, working with Carl Zeiss should provide access to a new source of optical and instrumental expertise. Our objective is to further the technology and enable demanding applications of our powerful multiphoton microscopy technology."

Webb said the biomedical research community is beginning to recognize the advantages of multiphoton microscopy "to address their research questions in the most natural context -- deep in the tissue or even directly in the living organisms. Our research is focused on developing the potential of the technology, as well as on applying it to solve 'impossible' biological problems," Webb said. "Apart from imaging deep in the tissue, multiphoton microscopy and nonlinear optics have several advantages for breakthrough applications in biomedical research."

One such application combines multiphoton microscopy with fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (invented by Webb and by Elliot Elson and Doug Magde decades ago) to measure the dynamics of biomolecular processes of sparse biomolecules in living cells, Webb said. "Another surprisingly useful feature [of multiphoton microscopy] is imaging of the intrinsic fluorescence of biomolecules deep in living plant and in animals, where it can diagnose many disease states."
-end-
Related World Wide Web sites: The following sites provide additional information on this news release. Some might not be part of the Cornell University community, and Cornell has no control over their content or availability.

Carl Zeiss International: http://www.zeiss.com/
Bio-Rad Laboratories: http://www.bio-rad.com/P
Cornell Center for Technology, Enterprise & Commercialization: http://www.cctec.cornell.edu/
DRBIO: http://www.drbio.cornell.edu/
More news about multiphoton microscopy:
http://www.news.cornell.edu/releases/Oct03/Biomembrane.hrs.html
http://www.news.cornell.edu/releases/Feb04/Optical_recording.hrs.html
http://www.news.cornell.edu/releases/May03/quantum_dots.hrs.html

Cornell University

Related Microscopy Articles from Brightsurf:

Ultracompact metalens microscopy breaks FOV constraints
As reported in Advanced Photonics, their metalens-integrated imaging device (MIID) exhibits an ultracompact architecture with a working imaging distance in the hundreds of micrometers.

Attosecond boost for electron microscopy
A team of physicists from the University of Konstanz and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München in Germany have achieved attosecond time resolution in a transmission electron microscope by combining it with a continuous-wave laser -- new insights into light-matter interactions.

Microscopy beyond the resolution limit
The Polish-Israeli team from the Faculty of Physics of the University of Warsaw and the Weizmann Institute of Science has made another significant achievement in fluorescent microscopy.

Quantum light squeezes the noise out of microscopy signals
Researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory used quantum optics to advance state-of-the-art microscopy and illuminate a path to detecting material properties with greater sensitivity than is possible with traditional tools.

Limitations of super-resolution microscopy overcome
The smallest cell structures can now be imaged even better: The combination of two microscopy methods makes fluorescence imaging with molecular resolution possible for the first time.

High-end microscopy refined
New details are known about an important cell structure: For the first time, two Würzburg research groups have been able to map the synaptonemal complex three-dimensionally with a resolution of 20 to 30 nanometres.

Developing new techniques to improve atomic force microscopy
Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a new method to improve the noise associated with nanoscale chemical imaging using atomic force microscopy.

New discovery advances optical microscopy
New Illinois ECE research is advancing the field of optical microscopy, giving the field a critical new tool to solve challenging problems across many fields of science and engineering including semiconductor wafer inspection, nanoparticle sensing, material characterization, biosensing, virus counting, and microfluidic monitoring.

New microscopy method provides unprecedented look at amyloid protein structure
Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's are often accompanied by amyloid proteins in the brain that have become clumped or misfolded.

Novel 3D imaging technology makes fluorescence microscopy more efficient
A research team led by Dr Kevin Tsia from the University of Hong Kong (HKU), developed a new optical imaging technology -- Coded Light-sheet Array Microscopy (CLAM) -- which can perform 3D imaging at high speed, and is power efficient and gentle to preserve the living specimens during scanning at a level that is not achieved by existing technologies.

Read More: Microscopy News and Microscopy Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.