Life Sciences

Fluorescence Microscopy
Fluorescence microscopy requires an intense light source at the specific wavelengths that excite fluorescent dyes and proteins. Traditionally a white light is employed, a Metal Halide, Mercury or Xenon arc lamp. Although such broad spectrum lamps can generate ample light at desired wavelengths, only a small percentage of the projected light is useful in any particular application. The other wavelengths need to be suppressed to avoid background noise that reduces image contrast and obscures the fluorescent light emissions. Light engines enhance S/N, eliminate stray UV and IR radiation, synchronize with camera exposure time and simply generate more useable light than their arc lamp predecessors.
Lumencor’s red/green/blue (RGB) light engine has superior power over any lamp based illuminator used in surgical procedures. Moreover, the light engine incorporates powerful NIR sources to strategically excite fluors designed for specific and selective identification of a particular pathology during surgical procedures. The NIR outputs as well as other wavelengths can be used for targeted fluorophore excitation. The light engine may be tuned to match any color temperature. A fourth output may be included, cyan. This is particularly important for minimally invasive surgery where the RGCB components can be balanced to offset red in the surgical field. The LE can provide high blue and green content, to match the camera chip and yield a field of view that images in high contrast. One can then superimpose the fluorophore excitation, giving the surgeon a superior image quality within which to operate.

Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) is the cornerstone of cytogenetic analysis. Typically, specimens are interrogated with multiple spectrally distinct probes, allowing simultaneous visualization of variant and control nucleotide sequences. The ideal light source should provide output that is spectrally optimized relative to the excitation characteristics of the probes and deliver sufficient intensity to generate fluorescence from weak hybridization signals. Furthermore, the throughput demands of routine cytogenetic analysis require a light source that is stable, reliable and maintenance-free. Meeting these requirements demands the best of modern solid-state illumination technology, delivered in Lumencor’s high-performance light engines. Published applications of Lumencor light engines for fluorescence in situ hybridization are listed in our applications bibliography.

Digital Pathology
Digital Pathology is an image-based information environment enabled by computer technology that allows for the management of information generated from a digital slide. Digital pathology is enabled in part by virtual microscopy, which is the practice of converting glass slides into digital slides that can be viewed, managed, and analyzed. Lumencor’s light engine offers state of the art illumination for this high performance, digital microscopy application: power in discrete UV-Vis-NIR bands, spectral & power stability, microsecond switching, no external filters or shutters, standard and custom imaging colors, minimal heat generation, computer control TTL/RS232 and boasts a lifetime greater than 20,000 hours. No other lighting system in the biotech market offers this entire ensemble of features.

Optogenetics is the combination of genetic and optical methods to control specific events in targeted cells of living tissue in the millisecond timescale.  Light is used to activate transgenically introduced photosensitive ion channels and enzymes, initiating bioelectrical and biochemical events whose progression is monitored by imaging or electrophysiological recording.  Cost-competitive light engines now offer an alternative to  laser arrays for optogenetics studies in live tissue sections and freely moving animals. Lumencor light engines provide the temporal precision needed to keep pace with functioning, intact, living biological systems; the ease of use of a pre-aligned multicolor output; and the safety and price advantages of a non-laser based illuminator. Published applications of Lumencor light engines for optogenetics are listed in our applications bibliography.

High Content Screening


Assays performed in whole cells or intact tissue sections allow for monitoring wide range of cellular responses to a particular compound or drug target, and are thus considered “high-content” analyses. High-content analysis can be applied to all stages of the drug discovery process and is particularly valuable for assessing off-target activity of drug candidates. Using multiplexed fluorescent labeling, it is possible to simultaneously monitor multiple targets, such as components of a signaling pathway of interest. Monitoring the expression and translocation of proteins and other spatially-defined cellular characteristics provides information that conventional biochemical analysis cannot. Single cells can be monitored, providing greater subtlety in the evaluation of the variability of the response to a particular drug or treatment. Particular advantages of Lumencor light engines in these applications are: (1) Broad spectral content — providing excitation for multiple fluorophores addressed to multiple cellular targets. (2) Output stability — ensuring consistent data quality across thousands of  samples. (3) Electronic control — required for automation of large-scale multiplexed assays. Published applications of Lumencor light engines for high-content screening are listed in our applications bibliography.


Microfluidics miniaturizes and automates the processing and analysis of biomolecules, cells and even small organisms such as zebrafish and C. elegans.   Miniaturization of analytical functions requires optical detectors that provide high sensitivity for small detection volumes (10-9–10-12 liters) and low analyte concentrations.  Lumencor light engine can be coupled via  waveguides or optical fibers to a wide variety of detectors such as photodiodes and photodiode arrays.  As in fluorescence microscopy and other applications, analysis of multiple parallel processes is facilitated by the individually controlled color channel outputs of the SPECTRA, SPECTRA X and AURA light engines. Published applications of Lumencor light engines for microfluidics are listed in our applications bibliography.

Scientists can analyze variations in gene sequence and gene expression to identify the defective genes and polymorphisms that are associated with a specific disease. About half of such research is conducted in the field of cancer. These techniques provide initial insight into whether a potential drug merits further research and as such are immensely useful to drug discovery and development. The plurality of samples on a typical microarray is simply too demanding for most light sources. As a consequence scanners move chips or delivery optics to built up an image over time. Lumencor can eliminate that problem. By providing enough light to uniformly irradiate even the highest density chips, the noise and cost associated with moving parts and “scanning” are minimized and even eliminated. Lumencor light engines are being used today to obtain quiet, cost effective images based on single or multiple wavelengths.
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