Services and Equipment

Optical Imaging Core

The Optical Imaging Core provides state-of-the-art microscopy services for biological specimens. Core capabilities are used to explore a wide array of experimental questions, and includes (but not limited to):

Fluorescent imaging
Brightfield imaging
Optical sectioning
3-D rendering
Live-cell imaging
Spectral unmixing

Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP)
Photoactivation and photoconversion
Second harmonic generation
Slide digitization
In vivo screening


Training in equipment operation and imaging data analysis is available. Contact opticalimaging@vai.org to schedule training.

How to Access Services

New users should complete training before signing up or accessing the confocal suite.

Certified internal users should login to iLab and schedule service times through the system. New users who need login information should contact Lori Moon.

Zeiss LSM 880 with Airyscan and non-linear optics

  • Axio Observer 7 inverted microscope body
    • Definite Focus 2
    • Automated scanning stage
    • High-speed Z-piezo frame
  • Stage-surround incubation provides temperature, humidity and gas controls for live-cell imaging
  • 5x air, 10x air, 20x air, 40x water, 63x oil and 100x oil objectives
  • Airyscan detector
    • Airyscan superresolution mode
    • Airyscan Fast mode
  • 405, 458, 488, 514, 561 and 633 nm laser lines for confocal imaging
  • Confocal imaging detectors:
    • Two liquid-cooled MA-PMT
    • One high-sensitivity 32-channel GaAsP array
  • Coherent Discovery dual-output Ti-Sapphire laser for multiphoton imaging
    • Tunable output: 660–1320 nm
    • Fixed output: 1040 nm
  • Multiphoton imaging detectors (non-descanned):
    • Two GaAsP
    • Two multi-alkali PMT
  • Transmitted light detector
  • Zeiss Zen software
  • Offline processing computer

Zeiss AxioScan.Z1

  • Fully automated slide scanning (100 slide capacity):
    • Fluorescence
    • Brightfield
    • Z-stacking
  • Colibri 7 VIS-LED light source
  • 5x air, 10x air, 20x air and 40x air objectives
  • Fast filter wheel
  • Zeiss Zen software

Nikon A1plus-RSi scanning confocal microscope

  • 403, 488, 561 and 640 nm solid-state lasers
  • SOLA solid-state LED epi-illuminator
  • Two alternative confocal detection modes:
    • 4-detector “DU4” setting with high-sensitivity GaAsP detectors in the red and far-red detection channels
    • 32-detector spectral imaging mode
  • Transmitted light detector in confocal mode
  • Two scanning modes (Galvo scanner and high-speed resonant scanner)
  • DualView2 beam splitter with Hamamatsu Orca Flash2.8 sCMOS camera for high-speed quantitative FRET imaging
    • Okolab Stage-top incubator provides temperature, humidity and gas controls for live-cell imaging
    • 10x air, 20x air, 20x multi-immersion, 40x oil, 60x oil and 100x oil objectives
  • Nikon Elements Analysis software

Zeiss CellDiscoverer 7

  • Fully automated system for live-cell imaging
    • Phase contrast gradient
    • Fluorescence
    • Time-course
    • Z-stacking
    • Tiling
  • Full CO2 and heating control
  • Definite focus
  • Inserts for multiple sample types
    • 35mm dishes
    • 60mm dishes
    • Slides
    • Multi-well slides
    • Multi-well plates
    • Pecon POC-R2 perfusion chamber
  • Autodetection of sample vessel
  • Autocorrection of objectives to accommodate sample vessel thickness (plastic or glass)
  • 5x air, 20x air, 20x water and 50x water objectives
    • 5x, 1x and 2x magnification
    • Autoimmersion for water objectives
    • Zeiss Zen software

Olympus BX51 epifluorescent microscope

  • 4x, 10x, 20x, 40x, 60x and 100x objectives
  • EXi Aqua CCD monochrome or RGB capable camera

Akoya Biosciences Vectra 3.0 Automated Quantitative Pathology Imaging System

  • 420–720 nm wavelength range
  • 200-slide autoloader
  • Brightfield or fluorescence
  • 4x, 10x, 20x and 40x objectives
  • inForm image analysis software

Spectral Instruments AMI-1000

  • Fluorescence and bioluminescence applications:
    • Small animals
    • In vitro/well plates
    • Gels and blots
    • Colony counting
  • Visible light image overlay
  • 10 LED wavelengths for fluorescent illumination
    • 430, 465, 500, 535, 570, 605, 640, 675, 710 and 745 nm
  • 10 emission filters

Analysis Workstation Computer

  • Silicon Mechanics workstation
    • Intel Xeon E5-1650v4 6-Core CPU
    • 128GB RAM
    • PNY NVIDIA Quadro P4000 GPU
  • Commercial image analysis software
    • Imaris 9.1
    • Huygens Professional Deconvolution
    • Zen Desktop
    • Nikon Elements
    • InForm
    • Aperio ImageScope
  • Analysis freeware
    • FIJI/ImageJ
    • CellProfiler