YouTube video by Leica Microsystems, June, 2014
Timo Zimmermann is head of the advanced light microscopy unit in the center for genomic regulation in Barcelona that offers access to the whole range of high and light microscopy equipment to other researchers. The first super-resolution image he saw was an eye opener for him: "It was not just structures that got smaller. I was looking at a sample that I specifically had high hopes of seeing another layer of complexity and this actually was there." The sample had been a single-cellular marine organism with complex microtubule structure which could hardly be guessed in a confocal microscope. But the complexity could be revealed by a STED microscope. Timo Zimmermann is enthusiastic about the new 3D technology offered by the new Leica TCS SP8 STED 3X: "The third dimension really improved the results. It's a bit like comparing widefield and confocal imaging. Confocal imaging did exactly the same thing: it reduced information to the relevant part of the focal plane and doing the same with super-resolution gives similar effects. You have more clarity in your image." The limiting factor of STED for him is also the light budget and he hopes that the development of suitable dyes will overcome these limitations. With the development of better and better commercial super-resolution systems, Zimmermann is convinced that super-resolution microscopy will be more and more seen as a standard. "I already started to perceive confocal images as a bit unsharp. The dots just may get smaller, but seeing it better sharpens your perception of the structure."