Current optical microscope objectives of low magnification have low numerical aperture and therefore have too little depth resolution and discrimination to perform well in confocal and nonlinear microscopy.
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This is a serious limitation in important areas, including the phenotypic screening of human genes in transgenic mice by study of embryos undergoing advanced organogenesis.
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We have built an optical lens system for 3D imaging of objects up to 6 mm wide and 3 mm thick with depth resolution of only a few microns instead of the tens of microns currently attained, allowing sub-cellular detail to be resolved throughout the volume.
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We present this lens, called the Mesolens, with performance information and pictures from biological specimens including confocal pictures of entire set and complete fluorescently-stained 12.5-day old mouse embryos.
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For centuries, optical microscopes have enabled living tissues to be examined in fine detail.
Sadly, the pictures recorded through typical microscope lenses feature a compromise between how much of a sample can be revealed and the amount of element in the picture.
For instance, thickly grouped cells that were unique normally cannot be recognized in an image that reveals a whole mouse embryo.
To address this problem, McConnell et al. have developed a microscope lens called the Mesolens. Samples can magnify by up to four times in greater detail than traditional lenses that create the same magnification.
McConnell et al. examined the Mesolens as part of a technique called confocal microscopy, which can rebuild the three dimensional arrangement of a sample by accumulating pictures from distinct layers.
The resultant pictures permitted individual cells to be recognized in cultures of rat brain cells.
Additionally, pictures let the distribution of cells to be monitored in developing organs including the heart, and of 10–12 day old mouse embryos included enough detail to show many of the constructions found inside cells.
Finally, the Mesolens could help in the study of many biological processes and has the possibility to be used in a variety of programs.
Later on, McConnell et al. will examine how efficiently the Mesolens works as part of other microscopy techniques.