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New Olympus IX81®-ZDC2 Zero Drift Inverted Microscope System Offers Continuous Autofocus for Time-Lapse Imaging

CENTER VALLEY, Pa., June 10, 2010 – Olympus today introduced the new IX81®-ZDC2 Zero Drift microscope system, a motorized inverted microscope with a comprehensive, integrated autofocus solution for investigators doing time-lapse experiments. The IX81-ZDC2 Zero Drift system’s next-generation autofocus system is designed to operate continuously so that it maintains focus even when the events being observed happen very quickly and experiments occur over a short timescale. In addition, the system easily can be set to operate in a discrete, one-shot mode designed to facilitate applications that require maintaining multiple focus positions, such as experiments involving multi-well imaging. The system is optimized for use with total internal reflectance fluorescence (TIRF) and other advanced applications. zero drift

The ZDC2 Zero Drift system uses a Class 1 785nm laser diode to locate either the water/glass interface (for oil- or water-immersion objectives) or the air/glass interface (for non-immersion lenses). Samples can be mounted on coverslips, multi-well tissue culture plates, glass-bottom culture dishes or other glass substrates. Working in tandem with MetaMorph® for Olympus software, ZDC2 Zero Drift uses an intermediate lens to focus to the desired z-position (depth) in the sample, automatically maintaining focus for seconds, hours, days or weeks. Using its automated continuous mode, users can easily retain precise focus even after reagents are added.

The IX81-ZDC2 Zero Drift provides the crispest, sharpest, brightest images possible under time-lapse conditions. It can be used with a broad range of objectives including two key high-transmission Olympus TIRF lenses – the APON 60x, 1.49 NA and the UAPON 100x 1.49 NA objectives. ZDC2 Zero Drift also is an excellent choice for keeping focus during multi-modal calcium experiments that employ both TIRF and Fura-2. In conjunction with the Olympus cell^TIRF illuminator, the system allows simultaneous, high-speed multi-angle TIRF imaging.

The autofocus system is integrated into the Olympus IX81 microscope stand, known for its rigidity, stability and reliability. The small footprint of the IX81 houses a very efficient light path, and ZDC2 Zero Drift does not require the use of a second control pad or other accessories that can clutter the lab bench. Olympus research objectives are designed for multi-wavelength time-lapse imaging, and have chromatic correction ranging from 330nm up to 1100nm, depending on the objective. Olympus objectives also are lighter and more compact than others, so there is less mechanical stress on the microscope as it cycles through numerous small z-step changes over an extended duration.

The ZDC2 Zero Drift system operates by taking advantage of the specimen-coverslip relationship. While the distance between the objective and coverslip can be affected by temperature, gravity, immersion media viscosity and other factors, the distance between the coverslip and an attached cell is much more stable. ZDC2 Zero Drift locates the specimen-coverslip interface very reliably and is able to return to the defined focus position with great accuracy, even if the objective-to-coverslip distance changes. Further, the system uses an autofocus routine that is significantly faster than conventional software-based algorithms and is unaffected by changes in morphology, contrast or fluorescence intensity of the cell. The laser can be turned off during periods when image acquisition is not occurring. In addition to TIRF, the autofocus system works well with high-throughput screening and other high-accuracy time-lapse studies of living cells in stage incubation systems.

The IX81-ZDC2 Zero Drift system will be showcased at the Quantitative Fluorescence Microscopy course at Mt. Desert Island Biological Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine from June 12-19, 2010.

For more information on the Olympus IX81-ZDC2 Zero Drift microscope system with integrated autofocus, visit www.olympusamerica.com/ZeroDrift or contact Kimberly Wicklund, Ph.D., at 415-990-3924; email Kimberly.wicklund@olympus.com

About Olympus Scientific Equipment Group
Olympus America Scientific Equipment Group provides innovative microscope imaging solutions for researchers, doctors, clinicians and educators. Olympus microscope systems offer unsurpassed optics, superior construction and system versatility to meet the ever-changing needs of microscopists, paving the way for future advances in life science. For more information, visit www.olympusamerica.com/microscopes

About Olympus
Olympus is a precision technology leader, creating innovative opto-digital solutions in healthcare, life science and consumer electronics products. Olympus works collaboratively with its customers and its affiliates worldwide to leverage R&D investment in precision technology and manufacturing processes across diverse business lines. These include:

  • Gastrointestinal endoscopes, accessories, and minimally invasive surgical products;
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  • Lab automation systems, chemistry-immuno and blood bank analyzers and reagents;
  • Digital cameras and voice recorders.

Olympus serves healthcare and commercial laboratory markets with integrated product solutions and financial, educational and consulting services that help customers to efficiently, reliably and more easily achieve exceptional results. Olympus develops breakthrough technologies with revolutionary product design and functionality for the consumer and professional photography markets, and also is the leader in gastrointestinal endoscopy and clinical and educational microscopes. For more information, visit www.olympusamerica.com.

Metamorph is a registered trademark of Molecular Devices, Inc.
Olympus, cell TIRF and IX81 are trademarks, registered trademarks or pending trademarks of Olympus Corporation, Olympus America Inc., and/or their affiliates.