Confocal Microscopy - Zeiss LSM 510 Meta

The Zeiss LSM 510 Meta laser scanning confocal microscope is used primarily by researchers in the biological sciences to image fluorescent probes in cells and tissues. However, confocal microscopes are finding increasing use in non-biological applications as well.  

The microscope is based on Zeiss' Axio Imager upright research microscope and is equipped with ICS optics for high image quality. The motorized microscope is supported by LSM 510 software which automatically identifies the microscope settings and the objectives used and which controls all movements and measurements carried out by the system with high precision. Unlike conventional fluorescence microscopes, the confocal microscope can collect in-focus fluorescence from thin optical slices within relatively thick specimens (typically at least 100 um for biological). The automatic collection of z-stacks (a series of images taken at different focal planes) within such relatively thick samples allows 3-D images, animations, and maximum intensity projections (brightest pixels from z-stack combined in a single image) to be generated. The Meta detector on the Zeiss instrument allows the distribution of multiple fluorophores with overlapping emission spectra to be imaged within a single sample and can be used while collecting z-stacks. The confocal was funded through a National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) grant (#0618719).

Manufacturer:                Zeiss
Model No.:                         LSM 510 Meta
Year of manufacture:   2006
Year acquired:                  2007
Location:                            Rudman Room 340


  • Three visible-wavelength lasers capable of exciting fluorophores at 458, 477, 488, 514, 543, and 633 nm
  •  ​Oil immersion objective lenses - 5X/0.16, 10X/0.3, 20X/0.8, 40X/1.3-oil immersion, 40X/1.2-water immersion, and 63X/1.4
  • Utilizes #1.5 coverslips
  • Three confocal detectors in the microscope’s scan head, spectral detector (the Meta detector)
  • Eight- or 12-bit confocal fl uorescence images (single images or z-stacks) to quantify fluorescence intensity
  • Non-confocal gray-scale brightfield, darkfield and differential interference contrast (DIC; with 20X and higher objective lenses)

Principle scientist: Mark Townley

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