There seems to be no end to the stream of optical technologies hitting the market. Cambridge Research & Instrumentation (CRI) Inc., of Woburn, Mass., has developed CellView and SpindleView imaging systems to apply the company's LC-PolScope technology1,2 to the subcellular organization of living cells without stains or fluorescent labels.

Many subcellular structures are oriented polymers that are spatially organized, or anisotropic. This anisotropy causes the speed of light to vary in different spatial directions within these biomaterials, giving rise to two distinct refractive indices. Using these refraction indices, the relative orientation and even the number of filaments of a polymer may be estimated (based on thickness effects).

CRI Inc.'s LC-PolScope systems convert a light microscope into a quantitative retardance imager. Paired electro-optical liquid crystal retarders replace cumbersome mechanical polarizers and generate orientation-independent polarization images (360° view), eliminating moving parts and giving images in perfect register. Only a few...

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