Fluorescence microscopy is a type of light microscopy in which light for image formation is generated indirectly from the fluorescence of specialized molecules (known as fluorophores or dyes) that are embedded in the specimen. Unlike transmitted light microscopy, there is no background from light passing directly from the illumination source to the detector. For the biologist, this means that much smaller objects in smaller numbers can be detected and observed. However in order to make those observations, light sources capable of generating much higher intensity outputs than those used for transmitted light microscopy are required. Published applications of Lumencor light engines for fluorescence microscopy are listed in our applications bibliography.
In intravital imaging, the increased complexity of the specimen relative to cell cultures and tissue sections may require a combination of imaging modalities with different spatial resolution and tissue penetration characteristics. For example, intraoperative imaging may combine white-light reflectance imaging of the surgical field with near-infrared fluorescence imaging of vascularization. Lumencor light engines can provide the light output to support these and other imaging modalities within a common control framework. In addition, solid-state light engines provide the output stability necessary for reliable cross-referencing of images acquired over timespans of many hours or days. Published applications of Lumencor light engines for intravital imaging are listed in our applications bibliography.
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 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 RGB bands, spectral and power stability, microsecond switching, no external shutters, standard imaging colors, minimal heat generation, and computer control.
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.
The semiconductor metrology/inspection equipment market was valued at about $6 billion worldwide in 2017 and continues to grow. The underlying reasons are plain to see. High volume, high yield and low production costs are paramount in semiconductor manufacturing and defects cost both time and money. Both bright field and dark field light microscopy are extensively employed to provide fast, real time defect detection. As the size of integrated circuits continues to shrink, increases in the spatial resolution of imaging techniques used to detect defects are necessary, requiring parallel improvements in illumination. Lumencor’s optical engineering expertise allows the rapid design and manufacture of light engines delivering customized spatial, spectral and temporal illumination characteristics. Furthermore, solid-state illumination provides the stability and reliability required for quality-critical inspection processes. Published applications of Lumencor light engines for materials science are listed in our applications bibliography.