New microscope sets "new standard" for AFM and inverted-optical integration

MARCH 2, 2009--Veeco Instruments Inc. (Plainview, NY) announced today the release of its BioScope Catalyst Life Science Atomic Force Microscope (AFM). The Catalyst promises an unprecedented level of integration between atomic force microscopy and light microscopy. It features hardware and software innovations that enable the two complementary techniques to be used together more effectively and with greater ease of use for a wide variety of life science applications, including cellular force and mechanical studies and high-resolution molecular-scale imaging.

AFM images samples without fluorescent labels, at resolution higher than optical microscopy. "But it offers more than bioimaging, enabling interaction with the sample mechanically," Veeco's Research AFMs Product Manager, Ben Ohler, told BioOptics World. He explained how life scientists can functionalize the AFM's probe with a protein, for instance, to measure force adhesion of a sample. It's also possible to measure cell membrane elasticity and rigidity, and the technique enables molecule force measurement, he said.

Ohler noted that in the past, combining techniques made it difficult to retain the approaches' individual performance, but that the Catalyst was designed to perform AFM and light microscopy equally well--and the physical construction was conceived to enable ease of use.

The Catalyst's top-down laser path permits uncompromised use of phase contrast, DIC, and brightfield optical microscopy while offering unmatched optical and physical access from the top of the AFM head. Compatibility with the top inverted optical microscope brands, as well as with their standard condensers and a full turret of objectives ensure non-limited optical capabilities. Veeco's exclusive MIRO (Microscope Image Registration and Overlay) software corrects and registers light microscopy images and AFM data in real-time, permitting faster and more reliable data acquisition and processing. Enhanced support is included for Hamamatsu ORCA® and Photometrics CoolSNAP cameras, which allows images to be captured directly into the software. Finally, the Catalyst incorporates many features specifically designed to address the unique requirements of life science samples, including flexible mounting options, heating and fluid handling capabilities, and a micro-volume perfusion accessory for working with precious reagents or proteins.

"With its seamless integration with inverted optical microscopes and software specifically designed for registering and overlaying optical and AFM data, the BioScope Catalyst represents a new level of functionality and AFM accessibility for biological research," said Mark R. Munch, Ph.D., Executive Vice President, Veeco Metrology.

More information:
See further details about BioScope Catalyst on Veeco's website.

Posted by Barbara G. Goode, barbarag@pennwell.com, for BioOptics World.

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