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MICROSCIENCE 2008 – A Prohealthservicezone Special Report

The Royal Microscopical Society : 17 June, 2008  (Special Report)
Microscience 2008 has become largest exhibition and conference in Europe focusing on microscopy, imaging and analysis. A sign of the thriving nature of the event is that it has seen a 10 percent increase in exhibition space compared to the event in 2006 at a time when the overall exhibition sector is generally in decline.
MICROSCIENCE 2008 PRODUCT PREVIEW

Organized by the RMS, Microscience 2008 is being held at London’s ExCeL on 23 to 26 June, 2008.

Microscopy and imaging are experiencing a renaissance with the advent of numerous new exciting techniques, many of which will be showcased at Microscience this summer,” said RMS president, professor Mark Rainforth.

The event will see a number of new product launches and there will be many Microscopy related products that will be demonstrated in the UK for the first time. This Prohealthservicezone Special Report will focus on the pick of the new developments that Microscience 2008visitors can expect to see.


OPTICAL COHERENCE TOMOGRAPHY

Building on the renaissance of microscopy, the medical community is now benefiting from a variety of techniques.

Microscience 2008 will see one of the first UK exhibition demonstrations of the Michelson Diagnostics (MDL) EX 1301 OCT Microscope. Featuring MDL's innovative four-beam Optical Coherence Tomography technology, 2D and 3D architecture can be viewed non-invasively, in real-time and without ionising radiation to a depth of 1.5mm at resolutions of better than 10um. The system is ideal for research applications in oncology and tissue engineering.

MDL's multi-beam OCT technology opens up new opportunities for researchers who need to see sub-surface microstructure in biological samples, instantly, and without the need for any sample preparation. Both in-vitro and in-vivo applications will be demonstrated.

The EX1301 OCT Microscope has been upgraded to provide higher imaging resolution, 3D image capture capability, and improved capture frame rate. Researchers will now be able to establish even more detailed real time, sub-surface information from the images,

The EX1301 is now available with the Santec-2000-W wide-sweep laser, which provides an increase in the sweep range from 100nm to 150nm. The result is improved axial resolution and isotropic pixel size reduced from 6mm to 4.5mm (in tissue).

3D image capture is possible with the motorised stage option, enabling researchers to analyse 3D datasets and produce en-face images and 3D rendered graphical models of their samples.

Michelson has also improved the processing system with faster algorithms and electronics, resulting in a tripling of the frame rate – the EX1301 achieves 2.9 fps for a 4.5mm wide, 1000 A-line image.

MDL has also commenced the engineering phase of its development of probes for in-vivo imaging with optical coherence tomography (OCT).

According to MDL applications director Dr Gordon McKenzie, more than one type of probe will start clinical testing during 2008. The probes will be suitable for a variety of applications, including research into diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of cancer of the oral cavity, oesophagus, skin, cervix, colorectal tract and lung. “All of the probes will use MDL’s breakthrough multi-beam OCT technology”, said McKenzie, “which will provide at least double the resolution of competing equipment, for much crisper, clearer image of clinical features.”

MDL is interested in finding clinical teams that are interested in conducting clinical trials with the in-vivo probes.


LIGHT MICROSCOPY

Making its UK exhibition debut at MicroScience 2008 will be the new Carl Zeiss LSM 710 confocal microscope.

The new illumination and detection systems of the LSM 710 deliver a doubling in sensitivity and unequalled signal-to-noise performance to ensure clean, high-contrast images of the most complex, multiply labelled samples, enabling biological systems to be imaged in great detail.

New software tools are also included, such as automatic calibration, system control, smart set-up and spectral un-mixing functions. The new Microscope is based around the unique QUASAR filter-free spectral detection unit that is more sensitive and flexible than any detector previously released on the market.

Olympus will be demonstrating its new LV200 Luminoview Bio-luminescence Microscope (BLM). The instrument provides bio-luminescence Microscopy imaging for small organisms and slice cultures, as well as the single cell scale.

Bio-Luminescence imaging has great advantages over fluorescence imaging since it combines a high signal-to-noise (S/N) ratio with no background luminescence or phototoxic effects. What is more, only viable cells emit luminescence signals, and measurements are absolute and directly quantitative. However, in microscopy, luminescent light is not as bright as fluorescence, and has therefore required expensive and often complex imaging systems.

The innovative LV200 overcomes these drawbacks by featuring a highly specialised optical design to maximise light collection and enable dual-colour luminescence as well as provide brightfield and fluorescence overlays.

The first commercially available luminescent microscope, the LV200 offers full environmental control for long term live cell imaging, providing sensitivity and resolution whatever the magnification.

The LV200 is fitted with a fully controllable environment to enable long term live cell imaging. This includes independent temperature control for the stage, incubation chamber, top cover and objective. This fine environmental control enables samples to be continuously monitored over days or even weeks, without the need to move the sample between the Microscope and an incubator. The box is ‘light tight’ so can be used in a standard laboratory, only requiring a darkroom if light emission from the sample is extremely low.

Leica will be showing a new addition to its M Series, which combines optical brilliance with a wide range of user-friendly accessories. The Leica M125 stereomicroscope offers fully apochromatically corrected 12.5:1 optics. In the zoom range from 0.8x to 10x, the resolution increases continuously up to 862 lp/mm (2x planapochromatic objective).

To take full advantage of the performance capacity of the new instrument, all new components of the M series are exclusively apochromatically corrected. The result is that colour seams are finally a thing of the past. The Leica M125 stereomicroscope can be combined with many existing system components.

The motorised focus drive for the new M series enables precise and quick focusing on the specimen. With a mechanical resolution of less than 1um, the instruments of the new Leica M series focus reliably and precisely even within the finest structures. The maximum travel speed of 20mm/s enables very fast position changes in examinations that change frequently.

Microscience 2008 also provides the first major opportunity to see Improvision’s new UltraVIEW VoX fully integrated 4D, high performance confocal imaging system in action.

The UltraVIEW VoX is a high speed 4D confocal imaging system that produces high quality image data. The system includes the latest in spinning disk technology with Volocity software for image acquisition and analysis. The confocal solution is ideally suited to live cell imaging applications as it can deliver high acquisition speeds with reduced photobleaching, even using 3D image capture protocols.

Volocity Acquisition allows the first time point data to be reviewed as soon as it has been acquired, so that the results can be immediately visualized, which is beneficial when performing time lapse experiments. The data is 3D rendered and analysed using the comprehensive suite of tools provided by Volocity Visualization and Volocity Quantitation, so that acquisition, analysis and publication can be performed within one software environment.

MDS Analytical Technologies is also launching a confocal Microscope at Microscience 2008. The Molecular Devices’ MetaMorph ICS Confocal Microscope for Live Cell and Functional Imaging is the first of its kind in the imaging industry. The instrument combines the Molecular Devices’ MetaMorph software, which is the industry standard automation and image analysis package, with the VT- Infinity3 2D-array laser confocal scanner from VisiTech International. The combination is designed to meet the growing demand for imaging rapid changes within cells and then analysing these changes in multiple dimensions.

TILL Photonics, which is part of Agilent Technologies, is also going to present its new iMIC 2000 digital microscope, which is a fully motorised digital imaging platform, ideally suited for software controlled, automated screening, laser scanning and PC-based microscopy. Operating without eyepieces iMIC 2000 covers all modes for live cell applications in a single unit: Fluorescence, TIRF, FRET, FRAP and Ratio.


RAMAN MICROSCOPY

At Microscience 2008 Horiba Jobin Yvon is launching a new concept in Microscopy – the XploRA Smart Raman Microscope. The XploRA adds non-destructive chemical identification to Microscope images, offering a new dimension in standard optical Microscope techniques.

Suitable for all R and D and QC labs, the instrument’s compact, versatile design is ideally suited for analysts working in a very wide range of fields, including forensics, biology and pharmaceutics. Also on view will be two new fast Raman scanning technologies. SWIFT and DuoScan are making fast Raman imaging a reality. SWIFT stands for ‘Scanning With Incredibly Fast Times’ and the technology enables unmatched per pixel measurement times as fast as 7ms. A 50,000 spectrum image can be obtained in six minutes. DuoScan introduces an innovative scanning method that enables the image pixel size to be chosen to match features of interest enabling optimised mapping speeds. Unlike many Raman imaging methods DuoScan retains the full confocal benefits of the Raman technique without restriction on laser wavelength.

Thermo Scientific will also be showing its new DXR Raman Microscope system which has been designed to make the Raman technique accessible to a much wider audience by replacing manual adjustments with system intelligence and automation.


ATOMIC FORCE MICROSCOPY

Force spectroscopy is a single molecule technique that allows the real-time study of molecular interactions on the nano scale. Originating from the broad field of Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), force spectroscopy provides the necessary sensitivity to characterize biomolecular interactions such as the unfolding forces of single proteins or forces of a single chemical bond.

Microscience 2008 will be the first UK show to see the launch of the new XE-Bio from Park Systems.

Scanwel, the UK distributor for AFM systems from Park Systems, will be demonstrating the XE-Bio, which is a fully functional, bio Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) designed specifically to meet the needs of life science and biomedical researchers. The instrument’s ergonomic design combined with Park Systems’ advanced XE technology is engineered for integration with commercial inverted optical microscopes, making it possible to observe and study biological samples via AFM and I/O Microscope simultaneously. Versatile integration of the XE-Bio platform with optical Microscopy provides the user with familiar and complementary optical measurements such as phase contrast and DIC.

The system’s high speed z scanner provides a fast z servo response that enables true non-contact mode and minimises tip-sample interactions. As a result, The XE-Bio exhibits superior imaging capabilities for various soft biomaterials. In addition to AFM imaging, precision controlled tip motion allows for the study of the interactions between bio molecules and their mechanical properties.

The modular design of the XE-Bio provides the user with a wide array of imaging modes including the innovative scanning Ion Conductance Microscopy (ICM) module. The ICM module, specially designed for non-contact in-liquid imaging, utilises a nanopipette probe that senses ion current to feedback its position relative to samples completely immersed in a liquid buffer. The technique applies no physical force to the sample and is ideal for stable imaging of soft and sticky biological samples such as living cells. ICM is easily adapted to a host of qualitative and quantitative applications including electro-physiology, surface topography, and cell motility studies.

JPK Instruments is now making force spectroscopy available to a broad range of scientists with the ForceRobot which will be on show at Microscience 2008. The instrument offers unattended operation and can make up to 80,000 force curve measurements in 24 hours with the ability to customise individual experiments with varying parameters, such as temperature or loading rate.

A number of new AFM systems will also be demonstrated by Veeco Instruments, including the BioScope II Atomic Force Microscope which enables novel in-situ techniques for measuring biological samples in 3D, while being integrated into with inverted optical research microscopes. The Innova Scanning Probe Microscope for a wide range of physical, materials and life science applications will also be on show.

Featuring low-noise, closed-loop scanning and high resolution, top-down optics this SPM is cost effectively priced. Also on view will be the Wyko NT9100 Optical Profiling System which provides performance and many capabilities of Veeco’s full-sized profiling systems in a convenient and affordable table-top footprint. The new system is suitable for many applications in research, industrial, quality control and failure analysis.


IMAGING TECHNOLOGIES

Hamamatsu Photonics will be introducing a new feature that allows the creation of multilevel virtual slides from whole glass slides for its NanoZoomer System. This is a virtual Microscopy system that uses an advanced scanning technology to digitise whole pathology slides at a resolution suitable for diagnostic purposes to create a virtual slide.

The new feature enables the NanoZoomer to scan tissue sections at different levels to create a virtual slide, which can be viewed at different focal planes. The operator can input the number of levels to be scanned and the distance between them or, for convenience, select from a pre-set number of levels and distances. The system can be useful for examining cytology or thick histology virtual slides. Not only is it possible to focus through a virtual slide located on a local PC it is also possible to perform the same operation on a virtual slide located on a remote PC via a network connection.

Microscience 2008 will be Essen Instruments’ first UK exhibition since launching the company’s proprietary IncuCyte HD Phase module for High Quality Imaging 96 and 384-well microtitre plates.

Imaging dishes, flasks and microtitre plates under optimum in-vitro conditions, the IncuCyte is the first automated Microscope to work inside a standard tissue culture incubator. Until now, due to meniscus and sidewall effects, higher density plates such as 96 and 384 well have not produced good phase contrast images. The imaging technique within the HD Phase module, renders the IncuCyte relatively insensitive to these and other artifacts such as dust. High contrast images may now be obtained in higher density plates than previously possible with conventional Microscopy techniques.

Meiji Techno will be demonstrating the company’s latest in CMOS digital camera technology. With scientific grade, defect free sensors, these high quality cameras are designed to be a cost-effective versatile solution for documentation of Microscopy imaging where high resolution is required. The DK Series cameras have high sensitivity and low noise figures. The software features include auto and manual white balance, full exposure control and region-of-interest.

Also In the camera arena Olympus Soft Imaging Solutions will be introducing two further CCD cameras to its G2 TEM camera line-up 2nd generation on its stand. The Keenview is a high resolution and high read-out speed bottom-mounted TEM CCD camera system. The MegaView is a fast side-mounted TEM CCD Camera. Both cameras are is suitable for users in the bio-medical, life sciences and materials science.


ILLUMINATION TECHNOLOGIES

Energetiq Technology is introducing an innovative technology for the life Microscopy and spectroscopy communities at Microscience 2008. The technology enables a single light source to achieve high brightness and CW power over the broadest spectral range, from 170nm in the deep ultraviolet through visible and into the near infrared.

As the world’s first cost-effective source of truly broadband DUV-VIS power, the EQ-1000 LDLS Laser-Driven Light Source is the forerunner in a series of user-friendly, compact light products that can be configured for broad spectrum output in UV-VIS spectroscopy, biological imaging, circular dichroism spectroscopy, and general scientific research. The LDLS technology in the EQ-1000 EQ-1000 features long lamp life and low cost of ownership.

The compact EQ-1000 integrates easily into analytical instruments. The source uses a sealed Xenon gas bulb, unlike excimer lasers that require the installation of toxic gases. The proprietary laser-driven bulb technology is optimised for superior brightness and long operating life.

Agilent Technologies has introduced a Multi-wavelength Laser Combiner for Microscopy applications. Developed to work with laser-based tools in the Microscopy market, the laser combiner is ideal for applications including epifluorescence, laser scanning confocal and flow cytometry. The new combiner provides 19 wavelength options that can be used in three-channel to eight-channel configurations. As research needs change, new laser wavelength channels can be added, or laser lines can be changed within channel.

CoolLED, will be demonstrating its precisExcite LED light source for fluorescence Microscopy at Microscience 2008. CoolLED is also highlighting its development of LED excitation wavelengths in the Green region of the visible spectrum. Historically, LEDs have been spectrally weak in the Green region – broadly from 520-600nm – which has led to lower levels of intensity in a region where there are many important and interesting fluorophores requiring excitation. New LAMs (LED Array Modules) have been developed using CoolLED’s experience in developing high-intensity, actively-cooled LED arrays.


SURFACE ANALYSIS

For the first time at Microscience 2008 visitors will be able to directly experience the information provided by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) because Thermo Scientific will be holding live demonstrations of the company’scompact XPS system, the K-Alpha.

The K-Alpha is a fully integrated monochromated small-spot X-ray Photoelectron Spectrometer that maximises throughput and efficiency for XPS analysis and provides a true walk-up mode of operation for routine and non-expert users.
XPS is becoming an essential tool for the development of advanced bio-medical surfaces and nano-materials. K-Alpha is designed for a multi-user environment and is the first XPS tool to deliver fully automated workflow from sample entry to report generation.


MICROSCOPE ACCESSORIES AND SOFTWARE

Meiji Techno is launching its new warm stage option for the study of biological and life science specimens which require accurate control at body temperature. The system is vital for the study of sperm cell motility and routine cell biology applications.

The turnkey system uses a Meiji Techno phase contrast Microscope with a 20x lens such as the MT4310H with the Linkam warm stage modified for Meiji microscopes to hold a Microscope slide. The stage provides accurate temperature control platform for upright Microscope applications where it is crucial to maintain at +/- 0.1 degrees C stable temperature in the sample. The stage has an overall temperature range from ambient to 60 degrees C.

Alicona Imaging’s MeX is a software package that turns any SEM into a fully automatically 3D measurement device. Using stereoscopic images, the software automatically retrieves 3D information and presents a highly accurate, robust and dense 3D dataset which is then used to perform traceable metrology examination.

In medical applications and studies, MeX enables accurate and robust measurements of a surface, including area, profile, roughness and volume, which often lead to yet unknown insight into cancer behaviour. In recent research, MeX has been used to characterise the topography of extracellular matrix (ECM) underlying colon cancer cells at various stages. The enhanced visualisation and roughness measurement capabilities of MeX have provided additional information, not previously available, about the cancers´ behaviour. The findings have implications for not only improving the general understanding how colon cancer and metastasizes grow, but also leads to a better understanding of the role of the ECM topography in cancer.
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