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3i Lattice Light-sheet Microscope

Model Information & Grant Information

  • 3i Lattice Light-sheet Microscope
  • Cite in your manuscripts: NIH Grant S10 OD018118
    (Institute:Office of the Director [OD], Office of Research Infrastructure Programs [ORIP])
    Installed: Feb 11, 2016


Invented by recent Nobel-laureate Eric Betzig, this microscope is uniquely suited for high-resolution 3D imaging by reducing light-induced damage to an astounding minimum. Unlike traditional microscopes that irradiate nearly the whole sample just to capture a thin slice of information, the LLSM uses a lattice-pattern of unique pencil-like beams, thus limiting the volume of irradiation to the slice being imaged. From an innovative combination of new tools in physics, the beams are thinner and longer than any other microscope. The strategy is so efficient that continuous fluorescence movies of developing organisms have no detectable phototoxic effect, even on their offspring. Furthermore, the spacing of the lattice-pattern is adjustable and can be exploited to provide super-resolution images, trading speed for improved resolution in all dimensions, thus exceeding confocal microscopy. Indeed, Dr. Betzig claims that the LLSM is better than the microscope technique that won him the Nobel prize.

Johns Hopkins will be one of the first to acquire this potentially transformative technology, published only a year ago (Chen et al 2014 Science 246, 1257998). Licensed by Intelligent Imaging Innovations (3i), 3i will be delivering a beta-version in a unique collaboration with the Microscope Facility. We are the only installation site with regular visits by 3i staff specifically to develop the specimen protocols for the rich breadth of biomedical research represented by Hopkins investigators.


  • Sample must be mounted on 5mm coverslips
  • Only staff-assisted usage (not for self-use)


  • High-speed, high-resolution 3D imaging (<1s/z-stack)
  • Deep 4-color 3D-imaging
  • Minimal phototoxicity

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