“Manufacturers have developed super-corrected optics that allow co-localization studies with much more accuracy than before”, said Kevin Jia, senior marketing manager of Life Science at Olympus Scientific Solutions Americas in Waltham, Mass. “Also, throughput on our systems is much higher. Spectral imaging is vastly improved and live-cell imaging is possible with very low laser power.”

Working distance, wavelength ranges and other aspects of the optics now are tailored for specific applications to help confocal move from a fixed-cell technique to a highly sensitive, live-cell technique.

“We see confocal being combined with other imaging techniques,” Jia said. “For instance, we are looking at much higher-resolution and higher-contrast imaging through new superresolution technologies that are incorporated with spinning-disk or other confocal systems to create solutions providing fast, high resolution, high-contrast data.” One example is the Opera Phenix High Content Screening System from Perkin-Elmer, which is a microlens-enhanced Nipkow spinning disk confocal system that allows the capturing of confocal images from samples in multi-well plates or on slides at a very high throughput.

“Compared with conventional confocal laser scanning microscopes (CLSM), the Opera Phenix system allows unsupervised image acquisition, which can produce up to 400,000 images per day,” said Karin Boettcher, associate product manager for High Content Screening and Applications at PerkinElmer, Hamburg, Germany. “This far higher throughput, compared to conventional CLSM, allows screening of whole small molecule or siRNA libraries for a desired phenotypic effect.””

Sentences come from article on photonics.com internet site from Marie FREEBODY, Contributing editor.

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