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A History of Success

Founded as Family Business

Founded as a family business in the nineteenth century, the company is now a global enterprise. Its leitmotif is “with the user, for the user”, put into words by Ernst Leitz I, the entrepreneur who led the business to world renown. A historically close collaboration with the scientific, medical, and industrial communities is the key to Leica Microsystems’ tradition of innovation. Drawing on users’ ideas and developing solutions tailored to meet their requirements, the company continually sets new standards in markets it serves. This also applies to the services Leica Microsystems provides customers with: The company offers expert technical services, but also application support for all application-related questions.

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2016

Preparing the ground for future innovations:

Leica Microsystems exclusively licensed SCAPE microscopy for Life Science applications from Columbia University, a technique for fast 3D imaging of living samples with a sheet of light – which complements own IP and developments as well as its exclusive license of Oblique Plane Microscopy (OPM) from Imperial College.

Worlddidac Award for Leica EZ4 W educational stereo microscope:

The Leica EZ4 W which transfers HD images directly to students' mobile devices has been recognized with the prestigious Worlddidac Award, an award that honors outstandingly innovative educational products or solutions.

New image injection technology guides surgeons:

CaptiView technology injects images from image-guided surgery (IGS) software into the microscope eyepieces. Surgeons can fully concentrate on their patient, have all the data in front of their eyes and do not need to look up during the procedure.

2015

Helping researchers understand life-sustaining processes:

The first High Pressure Freezer with integrated light stimulation is a technology so precise that researchers can start asking new questions – and will be able to get answers.

Leica Microsystems acquires Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) company Bioptigen:

The contact-free imaging method aids ophthalmologists and researchers in the diagnosis of physiological and pathologic conditions of the eye.

Wi-Fi-capable microscopy instruments help increase student learning time:

The Leica EZ4 W educational stereo microscope with built-in wireless camera and the Leica ICC50 W digital camera transfer HD images directly to students' mobile devices.


2014

Nobel Prize for Stefan Hell, father of super-resolution microscopy:

Stefan Hell was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy. In collaboration with Leica Microsystems, this principle was translated into the first commercially available STED microscope.

Two awards for the Leica TCS SP8 STED 3X:

The Scientist Top 10 Innovations Award and R&D 100 Award recognize the super-resolution microscope as one of the innovations that will change the way life scientists work.

Supporting surgeons in visualization:

The surgical microscope Leica M530 OH6 is equipped with technology to enable surgeons to see better into deep, narrow cavities.

Building-block concept for inverted research microscope:

Researchers can build their Leica DMi8 microscope fully modularly. The platform can be adapted to their needs any time – a big difference to former instruments.

Microscopy in Outer Space:

Astronaut Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency used the inverted research microscope Leica DMI6000 B to carry out live cell experiments at the International Space Station.


2013

Award for Leica SR GSD 3D super-resolution microscope

Enabling scientists to visualize and study cellular structures and processes down to the molecular level, the instrument was voted among the Top 10 Innovations 2013 for laboratories and research.

Integrated 3D visualization for neurosurgeons:

First surgical microscopes with integrated TrueVision 3D technology enable an entire operating team to see what the surgeon sees without the need for a separate cart, thus saving space in the operating room.

Leica Biosystems and Leica Microsystems strengthen market position in Brazil:

Acquisition of Aotec, distributor for more than 25 years moves presence in Latin America forward.


2012

2012 MX Award for Leica Microsystems headquarters:

For its switchover to Kanban systems, Leica Microsystems Operations in Wetzlar, Germany, won the Manufacturing Excellence award for logistics and operational management.

Three awards for Leica GSD super-resolution microscope:

R&D magazine with its R&D100 awards for excellence in technological innovation, one of the three related "Editor's Choice Awards", and the Top Ten Innovations Awards 2012 by US American magazine Microscopy Today.

Enabling new discoveries:

The Leica TCS SP8 confocal microscope combines high-performance optics, the fastest true confocal scanner and the most sensitive detection system available, to enable researchers to uncover life's secrets.


2011

Learn, share, contribute. Science Lab goes live:

Science Lab is the knowledge portal on microscopy and EM sample preparation. Articles, interviews, tutorials, and webinars help users with interesting and hands-on information. By 2016, Science Lab has grown to an online resource with more than 600 articles.

2011 MX Award for Leica Biosystems Nussloch:

Leica Biosystems scores in the customer focus category of the Manufacturing Excellence (MX) Award 2011.

Classroom in HD:

Students and teachers can now view microscope images in HD quality during microscopy classes which enables them to detect more detail in the images.


2010

Award for Remote Care Service Concept:

Leica Microsystems received a gold M2M Value Chain award with Axeda Corporation honored as its enabler at the annual Connected World Conference.

Strategic Partnership:

Kavo Dental and Leica Microsystems cooperate for dental microscopes.

Frost & Sullivan Tissue Diagnostics award:

Leica Biosystems receives the North American Product Strategy Award in Tissue Diagnostics by research and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan.


2009

Exclusive license for a new generation of optical microscopes:

Max Planck Innovation grants exclusive license for the new GSDIM (ground state depletion microscopy followed by individual molecule return) super-resolution method to Leica Microsystems.

Slide scanner for optimal histological examinations:

The Leica SCN400 Slide Scanner offers an alternative to the microscope for the examination of histological samples in pathology, research, and teaching.

Quantitative particle analysis:

The Leica Cleanliness Expert is an all-in-one system for measuring impurities in cleaning liquids for micro-mechanic and motor components during production in the automotive industry. This helps failure analysis and quality assurance.


2008

Center of Excellence:

Leica Microsystems becomes a founder partner of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) Advanced Training Centre in Heidelberg, Germany.

Award for the Leica White Confocal:

The Scientist Top 10 Innovations Award 2008 for the Leica TCS SP5 X Supercontinuum Confocal Microscope.

Award for innovation in stereo microscopy:

Leica Microsystems wins PRODEX AWARD for FusionOptics, a technology that creates images with high resolution and a greater depth of field for better 3D impression.

Seeing better and more in neurosurgery:

Leica M720 OH5 - the world's most compact neurosurgical microscope with horizontal optics with patented mobility concept and greatest overhead maneuverability.


2007

Breaking the diffraction barrier:

With the super-resolution microscope Leica TCS STED light microscopy goes beyond the limits. This first commercial STED microscope achieves an optical resolution of less than 90 nm.

Step beyond infinity:

With the high-end stereo microscopes Leica M165 C and M205 C with FusionOptics, Leica Microsystems sets a new standard in stereo microscopy.

Leica Microsystems' new Biosystems Division:

After integrating Vision BioSystems, the Leica Biosystems division was formed – as the only source to offer instruments for the entire histo-pathology process.

Three new products for EM sample preparation:

Leica EMTRIM2 specimen trimmer, the Leica EM TXP for cutting, milling, and polishing, and the Leica EM RAPID milling system.

Licensing Agreements:

Max Planck Innovation concludes licensing agreement for RESOLFT technology; Harvard University's Office of Technology Development licensed its CARS microscopy technology to Leica.


2006

Network solution for histopathologists:

The Leica DMD108 increases physical comfort, significantly speeds up daily workflow without changing the process, and provides an easy-to-use network solution for sharing data.

Third "Innovationspreis" (German Business Innovation Award) for Leica Microsystems:

The company wins the award in the medium-sized business category. The company already won the prestigious award in 1984 for the ELSAM acoustic microscope and again in 2002 for the DUV high-resolution microscope objective for photomask and wafer fabrication.


2005

Innovative laser microdissection system:

With its enhanced laser technology, the Leica LMD6000 is suitable for processing thicker specimens and harder materials, making it ideal also for botanical research applications.

The only broadband confocal:

The Leica TCS SP5 features the broadest band of imaging speeds and resolutions ever available in one Confocal Microscope.

Integrated live cell workstation:

The Leica AF6000 LX integrated system for advanced widefield fluorescence imaging and analysis enables researchers to study the processes of life by imaging fast cell dynamics or 4D experiments over several days.


The founding fathers of Leica Microsystems: Ernst Leitz I, Rudolf Jung, Carl Reichert, Horace Darwin and Heinrich Wild


2004 - 1847

2004: First Super-Resolution Confocal (4Pi) Microscope

2003: German Business Innovation Award for the Leica DUV objective

1998: The Business Divisions of the Leica Group, Leica Camera, Leica Microsystems and Leica Geosystems, become three independent companies

1993: 1st Joint Venture Opening of the Leica group in China for specimen preparation.

1990: Merger of Wild Leitz, Cambridge Instruments, Reichert & Jung and Bausch & Lomb to form the Leica Group

1986: Merger of Ernst Leitz and Wild Heerbrugg to form the Wild Leitz Group

1984: German Business Innovation Award for the ELSAM acoustic microscope

1981: Foundation of the Wild Leitz group.

1976: Metals Research expanded and bought Cambridge Instruments (1st manufacturer of Scanning Electron Microscopes).

1972: Beginning of cooperation between Leitz Wetzlar and Wild Heerbrugg.

1967: Image Analysis (Quantitative Microscopy) brought to market

1932: Incident Light Fluorescence Microscopy introduced

1929: Photo Microscopy brought to market

1925: First Polarizing Microscope introduced

1921: Foundation of the optical company Wild Heerbrugg in Switzerland.

1914: Leitz’ small-format 35 mm camera (‘Leica’) invented by Oskar Barnack

1913: First Binocular Microscope presented

1907: The 100.000th microscope is presented to Nobel prize winner Robert Koch.

1881: Charles Darwin’s son Horace founds the optical company Cambridge Instruments

1876: Optical company C. Reichert founded in Vienna

1872: Precision Engineering company R. Jung founded in Heidelberg

1869: Ernst Leitz takes over "Optical Institute" and changes the company name into “Ernst Leitz”

1853: Foundation of the Bausch & Lomb Instruments Division in USA.

1849: Carl Kellner’s Optical Institute founded in Wetzlar

1847: Foundation of Spencer Lens/American Optical Instruments in USA.

Leica EZ4 W educational stereo microscope for college and university recognized with Worlddidac Award

Leica EM ICE team who had more than 145 years of experience in EM sample preparation when they launched the Leica EM ICE

Leica Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) systems support ophthalmologists, ophthalmic surgeons, and researchers with easy-to-use, high-quality imaging technology.

Stefan Hell

Leica TCS SP8 STED 3X

3D-enabled GSDIM/dSTORM-based microscope system

The Leica Science Lab hosts articles, interviews, tutorials, and webinars for users.

Kavo Dental and Leica Microsystems cooperate for dental microscopes.

White Light Laser Wins 2008 Innovation Award

The Leica M205 C stereo microscope with FusionOptics creates images with high resolution and a greater depth of field for better 3D impression.

First commercial STED microscope achieves an optical resolution of less than 90 nm.

Leica LMD6000 processes thicker specimens and harder materials.

Leica AF6000 LX

First Microtome

100.000th microscope

Historical Leitz microscopes