Researchers conducting studies that involve fluorescence microscopy can generally count on resolutions of around 200 nm. Even super-resolution microscopy, with 20 nm resolution in the XY plane, is limited by a 600–700 nm resolution along the Z axis, which does not afford a glimpse of three-dimensional molecular structure.

Leica’s SR GSD 3D imaging system, released in August, solves this problem with resolutions of 20 nm in the XY plane and 70 nm on the Z axis. A cylindrical lens allows the SR GSD 3D’s software to determine whether a single point is above, below, or in the focal plane and to then combine that information into a 3-D stack. The system comes with a new 160x objective, specifically designed for super-resolution, and a SuMo (Suppressed Motion) stage, which minimizes drift. Sebastian Tille, the director of wide-field imaging at Leica Microsystems, emphasized the system’s user-friendly software, which integrates robust color correction....

“It’s obvious that if you can see more detail in a cell, you can learn more about it,” says cell biologist Kees Jalink of the Netherlands Cancer Institute. Jalink has used the SR GSD 3D to visualize cytoskeletal organization, and describes the 3-D information gathered by this system as so good “that you can count individual molecules.”

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