Conventional widefield light microscopy and confocal scanning microscopy have been indispensable for pathology and drug discovery research. Clinical specimens from diseased tissues are examined, new drug candidates are tested on drug targets, and the morphological and molecular biological changes of cells and tissues are observed.
High throughput screening of drug candidates requires highly efficient screening instruments. A standard biomedical slide is 1 by 3 inches (25.4 by 76.2 mm) in size.
A typical tissue specimen is 10 mm in diameter. To form a high resolution image of the entire specimen, a conventional widefield light microscope must acquire a large number of small images of the specimen, and then tile them together, which is tedious, inefficient and error-prone. A patented new wide field-of-view confocal scanning laser imaging system has been developed for tissue imaging, which is capable of imaging an entire microscope slide without tiling. It is capable of operating in brightfield, reflection and epi-fluorescence imaging modes. Three (red, green and blue (RGB)) lasers are used to produce brightfield and reflection images, and to excite various fluorophores.
This new confocal system makes examination of large biomedical specimens more efficient, and makes fluorescence examination of large specimens possible for the first time without tiling. Description of the new confocal technology and applications of the imaging system in pathology and drug discovery research, for example, imaging large tissue specimens, tissue microarrays, and zebrafish sections, are reported in this paper.