Olympus America

Press Center

Olympus Zero Drift Microscope is Comprehensive Solution for Prolonged Time-Lapse Imaging without Focus Drift


MELVILLE, NY, November 11, 2005 - The Olympus IX81-ZDC Zero Drift microscope system provides a complete autofocus imaging solution for investigators doing time-lapse experiments using inverted microscopes.

Unlike add-on systems, the fully integrated Olympus unit was designed specifically for prolonged time-lapse studies. The IX81-ZDC uses a Class 1 785-nm laser diode to locate the uppermost surface of the specimen's coverslip, multi-well tissue culture plate, glass bottom culture dish or other glass substrate. Then, working in tandem with SlideBook™ software, the system automatically moves to a user-defined focal plane relative to the coverslip and maintains specimen focus for extended periods of time. The process repeats with utmost precision each time images are captured throughout the life of the experiment, which can last for minutes, hours, days or even weeks.

Adding to the system's ability to provide the crispest, sharpest, brightest images possible under time-lapse conditions are its more than 30 applicable objectives, including the Olympus Plan Apochromat 60x, 1.45 NA TIRF objective. Olympus research objectives are designed for multi-wavelength time-lapse imaging, with chromatic correction ranging from 330 nm up to 1100 nm, depending on the individual objective. Olympus objectives are also lighter and more compact than others, so there is less mechanical stress on the system as it cycles through numerous small Z-step changes over an extended duration.

The Zero Drift 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 supports the addition of peripheral accessories in a restricted work area. However, the Zero Drift system does not require the use of a second control pad or other accessories that can clutter the lab bench.

The system works 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. The IX81-ZDC locates the specimen-coverslip interface very reliably and thus is able to accurately return to the defined focus position even if the objective-to-coverslip distance changes. In addition, the Zero Drift 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 does not remain on unnecessarily during periods when image acquisition is not occurring.

While the system was designed for protracted time-lapse experiments, it is also appropriate for such applications as TIRF, high-throughput screening and other high-accuracy, time-lapse studies of living cells in stage incubation systems.

For more information on the Olympus IX81-ZDC Zero Drift autofocus system for time-lapse studies, please contact Ed Lachica at Olympus America Inc., Two Corporate Center Drive, P.O. Box 9058, Melville, NY 11747-9058; www.olympusamerica.com/microscopes; Email: microscopy@olympus.com; Phone 1-800-446-5967.

About Olympus Scientific Equipment Group
Olympus 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.

About Olympus
Olympus is a precision technology leader, designing and delivering innovative solutions in healthcare and consumer electronics worldwide.

Olympus works collaboratively with its customers and its parent company, Tokyo-based Olympus Corporation, 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;
  • Advanced clinical and research microscopes;
  • Lab automation systems, chemistry-immuno and blood bank analyzers and reagents; and
  • Digital and film cameras, and digital voice recorders.

In the U.S. and Canada, Olympus serves healthcare, scientific and commercial laboratory markets with integrated product solutions and financial, educational and consulting services that help customers efficiently, reliably, safely, and easily achieve superior results. Olympus is the leader in gastrointestinal endoscopy and clinical and educational microscopes. The company's market-leading consumer electronics business spans North and South America. For more information, visit www.olympusamerica.com.

SlideBook™ is a trademark of Intelligent Imaging Innovations, Inc.