Confocal Technique Reveals Complex Brain Functions

Microscopy platforms are critical for understanding neuronal activity, but scanning microscope technologies with micron-scale resolution can be slow and produce enormous amounts of data. A group of researchers has developed a novel confocal technique that could aid in the solution to the problem. It is known as Multi-Z confocal microscopy. It can provide two-color fluorescence imaging over fields of view larger than one millimeter in size and simultaneous multi-plane imaging without axial scanning.

They discovered a way to combine the required imaging features in an easy-to-build and operate microscopy system. It also provides real-time results without requiring complex data analysis or image processing.

Because of its increased signal collection efficiency, the confocal technique could appeal to various biomedical research applications. It should be easily scalable to a more significant number of imaging planes by simply adding pinholes and detectors or to a greater axial range by adding pinholes and detectors. The team has only used two-color imaging, but multi-color data should require only minor changes.

The new method takes advantage of confocal microscopy’s contrast while extending to volumetric imaging without sacrificing speed. For the first time, the researchers have combined extended illumination and reflective pinholes in a light-efficient confocal microscope setup.

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