Multi-modal correlative microscopy allows combining the strengths of several imaging techniques to provide unique contrast. However it is not always straightforward to setup instruments for such customized experiments, as most microscope manufacturers use their own proprietary software, with limited or no capability to interface with other instruments - this makes correlation of the multi-modal data extremely challenging. We introduce a new software tool for simultaneous use of a STimulated Emission Depletion (STED) microscope with an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM). In our experiments, a Leica TCS STED commercial super-resolution microscope, together with an Agilent 5500ilm AFM microscope was used. With our software, it is possible to synchronize the data acquisition between the STED and AFM instruments, as well as to perform automatic registration of the AFM images with the super-resolution STED images. The software was realized in LabVIEW; the registration part was also implemented as an ImageJ script. The synchronization was realized by controlling simple trigger signals, also available in the commercial STED microscope, with a low-cost National Instruments USB-6501 digital I/O card. The registration was based on detecting the positions of the AFM tip inside the STED fieldof-view, which were then used as registration landmarks. The registration should work on any STED and tip-scanning AFM microscope combination, at nanometer-scale precision. Our STED-AFM correlation method has been tested with a variety of nanoparticle and fixed cell samples. The software will be released under BSD open-source license.
We present a tomographic Stimulated Emission Depletion (STED) microscopy method with three-dimensional superresolution, and its application to osteoclast bone resorption study. In order to improve axial resolution in standard STED system by tomography, two axial projections were obtained by imaging a sample at two different angles; one conventionally from below and another from the side. The second observation was acquired via a metal-coated silicon mirror, positioned above the region of interest by a custom-built micro-positioner. The acquired two sets of 3D stacks were computationally registered and fused, with our own in-house-developed software, to produce a 3D tomogram with three-dimensional super-resolution. With the presented tomographic super-resolution method we optically investigated actin cytoskeleton through thin and smooth bone layer, particularly at ruffled boarders (RB), which are directly associated with active bone resorption in osteoclasts. Tomographic STED microscopy at RB of osteoclast, cultured on thin bone layer, demonstrated axial resolution of approx. 210 nm, revealing fine axial structures of actin cytoskeleton at RB. Further investigation of the cytoskeleton at RB in relation with associated proteins would provide understanding in the protein roles during the bone resorption.