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The Vanderbilt Medical Center CISR Facility houses four confocal microscopes for use in medical research studies by various faculty, staff, and students. Please remember, access to all CISR equipment is limited to registered users only. Please Click Here for more information on the registration process.

Confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM or LSCM) is a technique for obtaining high-resolution optical images. The key feature of confocal microscopy is its ability to produce in-focus images of thick specimens, a process known as optical sectioning. Images are acquired point-by-point and reconstructed with a computer, allowing three-dimensional reconstructions of topologically-complex objects.

In a confocal laser scanning microscope, a laser beam passes through a light source aperture and then is focused by an objective lens into a small (ideally diffraction limited) focal volume within a fluorescent specimen. A mixture of emitted fluorescent light as well as reflected laser light from the illuminated spot is then recollected by the objective lens. A beam splitter separates the light mixture by allowing only the laser light to pass through and reflecting the fluorescent light into the detection apparatus. After passing a pinhole, the fluorescent light is detected by a photodetection device (a photomultiplier tube (PMT) or avalanche photodiode), transforming the light signal into an electrical one that is recorded by a computer.

LSM 510 META Inverted
742A Light Hall
MRBIII 4155