Kurt Thorn

University of California, SF


  • What is the Nikon Imaging Center @ UCSF and what is your position in it?
  • The Nikon Imaging Center is a core microscopy facility established to provide access to cutting edge light microscopy equipment to the University of California, San Francisco community and to outside researchers. I am the director of the center.
  • What are some of the challenges that you face in fulfilling your mandate to provide cutting edge light microscopy access?
  • One of our major interests is in high-speed acquisition. With the advent of sCMOS cameras, acquiring data at 100 frames per second is now routinely possible, but the rest of the microscope, including the light source, also needs to run at that speed.
  • How has Lumencor’s SPECTRA X light engine helped you to achieve this objective?
  • The Lumencor SPECTRA X features fast switching times between excitation wavelengths, which can be triggered from the camera. In this way, we can acquire multicolor images at 100 frames per second. Combined with a triggered piezoelectric Z-stage, we can now acquire multicolor Z-stacks at 100 frames per second. This is not possible with a conventional arc lamp source.
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