NEUROSCIENCE, CELL BIOLOGY: Lasers, optics loom large at Neuroscience 2008

Unlike the meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (see report, p. 10), the conference program for Neuroscience 2008 (Washington, D.C., Nov. 15–19) barely mentioned technology. The exhibit hall, on the other hand, teemed with optics and photonics component suppliers–among them Coherent, Chroma Technology, Chromodynamics, Cooke, DPSS Lasers, Hamamatsu, Lumenera, Mad City Labs, Newport, Semrock, and Sutter Instruments.

The Zeiss Online Campus Web site intends to be a comprehensive and independent resource to learn about the latest techniques in fluorescence imaging.
Click here to enlarge image

The 31,000+ attendees also got the chance to visit medical and research equipment companies ranging from the functional to the super sophisticated. Exhibitors like ASI/Applied Scientific Instrumentation, PI (Physik Instrumente) and Prior Scientific, featured microscopy stages and other research-enabling devices, while several molecular imaging companies–Advanced Research Technologies (ART), Caliper Life Sciences, Carestream Molecular, and CRi–showed their wares.

Lockheed Martin Aculight (Bothell, WA) promoted its Capella infrared nerve stimulator, a compact, low-cost system designed for medical research (see “Infrared nerve stimulation: Hearing by light,” BioOptics World, Nov/Dec 2008).

Olympus (Center Valley, PA) showcased its FSX100 Bio Imaging Navigator all-in-one microscope system among other products that address both ends of the microscopy spectrum and cater to either the high-end user or novice microscopists. The FSZ100 is a compact, innovative fluorescence microscope and camera combination that lets even first-time users easily capture high quality fluorescence images in moments. Olympus also demonstrated its new LCV110 Incubator Fluorescence Microscope, an ultralong-term live-cell incubation and imaging system that allows multichannel time-lapse observation of living cells without requiring removal of cultures from their ideal growth environment.

Carl Zeiss MicroImaging (Jena, Germany) announced four new fluorescence imaging systems–Cell Observer SD, a spinning-disk microscope system for high-speed confocal imaging; LSM 700, an easy-to-use, affordable, high-performance personal confocal; LSM 7 MP, a dedicated multiphoton system offering flexibility in experimental design; and Laser TIRL 3, a reproducible and highly flexible system for total internal reflection microscopy (TIRF). Zeiss said these additions make its family of optical sectioning microscopes the largest on the market.

Zeiss also used Neuroscience 2008 to launch an educational website developed in collaboration with renowned imaging expert and online teaching pioneer Mike Davidson of Florida State University. The site, called Zeiss Online Campus, intends to be a “comprehensive and independent resource to learn about the latest techniques in fluorescence imaging.”

Zeiss and Visage Imaging both showcased software working on autostereoscopic (meaning no need for red-and-blue glasses or other eyewear/headgear!) interactive 3-D displays by Tridelity. Tridelity (St. Georgen, Germany) uses a parallax barrier to produce a two-view, head-tracked display for single-viewer systems or a multiview display that supports multiple viewers.

Another announcement coming out of the show was the collaboration between Nikon (Melville, NY) and Thorlabs (Newton, NJ) to bring optical coherence tomography (OCT) to Nikon’s FN1 “PhysioStation” upright focusing nosepiece microscope system for neurophysiology and in vivo small-animal studies. The new OCT system enables an imaging depth of 2 to 3 mm in biological tissue with a larger field of view than in conventional microscopy. –BG

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