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STELLARIS. Confocal re-imagined.

STELLARIS has been designed from the ground up to give you the power to see more. The synergy between the new Power HyD detector family, the completely optimized beam path and the next generation White Light Lasers (WLL) empowers you to obtain more accurate and reliable data to test your hypothesis with precision.

Gain the potential to explore a new dimension in your samples using our new and unique TauSense technology. TauSense gives instant access to lifetime-based information, delivering additional insights to your experiments.

STELLARIS gives you increased productivity to do more thanks to our new smart user interface, ImageCompass, which enables you to acquire images with a few clicks, even for complex experiments.

Introducing STELLARIS 5

STELLARIS 5 delivers the very best of our platform. It is a completely re-imagined core system that sets a new standard for confocal microscopy. It is the only confocal system with an integrated WLL, combined with our proprietary Acousto-Optical Beam Splitter (AOBS) and new Power HyD S detectors. Together with the new and unique TauSense technology, STELLARIS 5 sets a new standard for the quality of images and quantity of information generated. This perfected imaging performance is easily attainable thanks to the smart user interface, ImageCompass, which guides you through your experiment set up and acquisition in an easy and intuitive manner.

Introducing STELLARIS 8

STELLARIS 8 is a forward-looking system, offering all the benefits of the STELLARIS 5 core system plus added functionality thanks to an extended spectrum WLL and specialized detector options of the Power HyD family. This allows you to expand the range of confocal applications in your research. STELLARIS 8 can be combined with all Leica Microsystems modalities, including FAst Lifetime CONtrast (FALCON), Deep In Vivo Explorer (DIVE), STED, Digital Light Sheet (DLS) and CARS. STELLARIS 8 new features maximize the potential of these modalities and give you the power and potential to set new standards for research.

Maximized flexibility for multicolor experiments

Experience complete spectral freedom with STELLARIS. The STELLARIS next-generation WLL , paired with our Power HyD family of detectors, gives you complete spectral freedom to choose and combine exactly the right probes to answer your experimental questions. With up to 8 simultaneous laser lines available to choose from 440 nm up to 790 nm, you have the capacity to image more fluorophore combinations than any other confocal platform. All of this with less complexity and more flexibility from a single laser doing the work of many.

Image more markers within one sample at the same time. STELLARIS has been optimized with next generation WLL with an extended spectral output on the red and near-infrared spectrum up to 790 nm. This allows you to expand your experiment with up to 3 more colors without increasing experimental complexity.

Learn more about WLL

Images of Cos-7 cells, labeled with SiR-Actin (657 – 740nm detection range), AF750-Tom20 (760 – 790nm), AF790-Tubulin (810 – 850nm). Sample courtesy of Jana Döhner, Urs Ziegler, University of Zürich.

Gentle live cell imaging

The goal of any experiment with a live specimen is to make detailed observations without influencing or damaging your sample. STELLARIS enables you to image for longer periods preserving physiological conditions and sample integrity thanks to the optimally tuned excitation and detection provided by the Power HyD detector family and WLL combination, since both excitation and detection are optimally tuned.

The high detection efficiency of our Power HyD detector family in the green/blue segment of the spectrum provides you with improved imaging capabilities for the most used fluorescent proteins, such as GFP or YFP, thanks to efficient signal acquisition at the lowest levels of illumination.

With STELLARIS you don’t need to compromise sample health to get great images. Whether you need long acquisition times for high-resolution 3D reconstructions or the highest frame rates to capture rapid dynamic events, our efficient signal detection ensures that you can perform the experiments that you need, while your samples are protected from photobleaching and phototoxicity.

Zebrafish posterior lateral line primordium migration. Membranes: cyan GFP: Nuclei: magenta, tdTomato. Imaging performed with resonant scanner, Dynamic Signal Enhancement and LIGHTNING. Sample courtesy: Jonas Hartmann, Gilmour Group, EMBL Heidelberg.

Potential to discover more

STELLARIS gives you the potential to extract a new dimension of information from every sample and increase the scientific impact of your research using fluorescence lifetime-based information to explore the function of molecules in their cellular context.

STELLARIS provides you with access to the usually hidden fluorescence lifetime-based information of your fluorophores with just a few clicks thanks to the new and unique TauSense technology.


TauSense is a set of imaging tools based on fluorescence lifetime, a form of contrast independent from fluorescence intensity. These imaging tools include TauContrast, TauGating and TauSeparation, which can help you understand the function of molecules within the cellular environment, increase the quality of your images, and expand the number of probes that you can study in your sample. The potential is there, sitting in your samples and waiting to be found.

Download TauSense application note

Zebrafish embryo. Green: Blood vessels, EGFP / Magenta: Nuclei, Hoechst. Blood vessels labeling identified using TauContrast; the lifetime-derived information distinguishes the blood vessels signal from endogenous signal contributions. Sample courtesy: Julien Vermot, IGBMC, Strasbourg.
Traditional Confocal

Root-hypocotyl-junction of Arabidopsis thaliana. Image acquired with TauContrast. Actin: Lifeact-Venus (Era et al.Plant Cell Physiol., 2009); chloroplasts: endogenous fluorescence; membranes: red, Propidium iodide. Sample courtesy: Melanie Krebs, COS, University of Heidelberg.

Explore a new dimension of information

With TauSense you gain an additional dimension that can give immense value to your research by using the fluorescence lifetime-derived information of the fluorophores in your sample.

Fluorescence lifetime can change depending on the fluorophore’s microenvironment such as pH or ion concentration. TauContrast provides immediate access to functional information such as metabolic status, pH and ion concentration by using these changes. TauContrast generates images from the average photon arrival time in each pixel and the number of photon counts (fluorescence intensity). Different average arrival times produce contrast in the image based on the effect of the microenvironment (e.g. high calcium vs. low calcium conditions).

TauSense for improved image quality

While imaging your sample you may come across fluorescence contributions such as intrinsic fluorescence, pigments, or reflections, which may overlap with the desired fluorescence signal, making your images difficult to interpret or even unusable, TauSense helps you to maximize detection efficiency by removing unwanted fluorescence while preserving the desired signal.

Eliminating unwanted fluorescence contributions is possible with the TauGating tool in TauSense. TauGating identifies the different photon arrival times from the fluorescent signals, so you can eliminate those that come from unspecific signal contributions.

Live HeLa cells stained with WGA CF680. Reflection removed by TauGating.

Multiplex beyond spectral options

With the TauSeparation tool, you can differentiate species based not on their fluorescence spectra, but on their fluorescence lifetime. The reason for this is that fluorescence lifetime information is orthogonal to fluorescence intensity and may be used to distinguish dyes with similar, overlapping spectra.

Using fluorescence lifetime-derived information, TauSense opens huge possibilities for multiplexing, expanding the number of simultaneous detection channels that can be used in each experiment. Imagine a cell labeled with two different fluorescent probes with similar emission spectra. Using traditional confocal microscopy, it would be extremely challenging or impossible to differentiate them in the image. Using TauSeparation, these probes can be assigned to two different channels based on their different lifetimes and can therefore be visualized as two separate images coming from the photons collected in the same spectral detection window.

Learn more about TauSense

Traditional Confocal (2 detectors, 2 intensity channels)
STELLARIS (2 detectors, 4 lifetime-based channels)

Fluorescence lifetime-based multicolor imaging in live NE-115 cells. Actin: LifeAct-mNeonGreen (left: yellow, right: red); mitochondria: MitoTracker Green (left: yellow, right: green); nuclei: NUC Red (left: gray, right: blue); and tubulin: SiR-tubulin (left: gray, right: magenta). Imaging performed with TauSeparation. Sample courtesy: Max Heydasch, University of Bern, and Spirochrome.

The productivity to do more

Imagine having a confocal system that readily adapts to your sample, rather than having to make compromises in your experimental design to cater to the limitations of your microscope. Imagine acquiring images from complex samples in just a few clicks, not having to compromise between speed and image quality, and with a full overview of your experiment. At the core of STELLARIS are software components that make powerful techniques simple to use.

STELLARIS gives you the tools that make it easy to do more with each experiment:

  • ImageCompass smart user interface puts you in full control of your experimental setup.
  • LIGHTNING integrated information extraction solution provides super resolution images in real time.
  • The Navigator tool gives you the ability to freely navigate through your sample and explore relevant details instantly and in full quality.

ImageCompass – Simple, even for complex experiments

Software should not hold you back when using your confocal microscope; it should make life easier. Our newly developed smart user interface ImageCompass makes the setting up complex experiments significantly easier.

ImageCompass features a drag-and-drop menu to add fluorophores and guides you through the setup multicolor experiments. It also has to ability to perform automated optimization of the excitation and detection parameters to give you maximum signal yield.

ImageCompass moves technical parameters to the background, leaving practical information in prominent positions and giving you a cockpit view of your experiment, so you always have the information you need to stay in control of your experiment.

With ImageCompass you also get intuitive access to functional information from TauSense and super-resolution with LIGHTNING. ImageCompass saves you time and adapts to your sample preparation, leaving you to focus on your experiment and giving you the productivity to do more.

ImageCompass smart user interface. Set up of a multicolor experiment.
Vesicle dynamics in live cells expressing EGFP-hRab-5A. Imaging performed with resonant scanner (50 fps) and Dynamic Signal Enhancement. Sample Courtesy: Sandra Ritz, Microscopy & Histology Core Facility, Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH (IMB), Mainz. EGFP-hRAB5A was a kind donation of Marino Zerial.

Fast across scales in time and space

LIGHTNING detection technology is fully integrated in STELLARIS for fast super-resolution confocal imaging in real time. LIGHTNING automatically detects the finest structures and details using an adaptive process for extraction of hidden information. Unlike traditional technologies that use a global set of parameters for the full image, LIGHTNING calculates an appropriate set of parameters for each voxel to uncover every detail with the highest fidelity.

With STELLARIS, you have direct access to the resonant scanner, which you can activate to improve image quality while preserving temporal resolution. Fast processing from LIGHTNING coupled with our resonant scanner enables high-resolution scans over a large area to produce exceptional image quality in record time.

Additionally, using the resonant scanner in combination with our newly implemented Dynamic Signal Enhancement enables you to adapt to your sample’s dynamics to get the best image resolution.

Relevant details, instantly identified

The LAS X Navigator is like a GPS for your experiment. This powerful navigation tool can quickly switch from searching image by image to seeing a full overview of your sample. Like a GPS, the LAS X Navigator ensures that you always have a clear roadmap to brilliant data. Now it is possible to create fast overviews of your samples and identify the important details instantly. This allows you to react and modify your image capture process if necessary, so that you can set up high resolution image acquisition automatically using templates for slides, dishes and multi-well plates. With the LAS X Navigator it is possible to increase your viewing area up to 10,000x while simultaneously streamlining the process of pinpointing areas of interest from the sample overview.

3D image of a daisy pollen sample across multiple fields of view. Imaging performed with TauContrast and LAS X Navigator.

Maximize your system’s availability

At Leica Microsystems, we know that every experiment is important to advance your research. As such, we are committed to maximizing STELLARIS uptime and ensuring your system always runs smoothly with our new Back-to-Light service model for the White Light Laser (WLL). Designed to deliver the most integrated level of service, Back-to-Light integrates STELLARIS with our global infrastructure to ensure that you get immediate assistance from our extensive worldwide network of Service & Support.

Additionally, RemoteCare allows us to use real-time data to evaluate the system status remotely and take corrective actions proactively, if needed. Our service includes next-day shipments of replacement parts and exchange modules from our regional hubs. The STELLARIS Back-to-Light concept takes our global service support organization to the next level, ensuring that our customers around the globe can maintain peak performance throughout the equipment life cycle.

Expand your possibilities

From live cell to spectral imaging, from super-sensitivity to super-resolution, from multiphoton to light sheet imaging – with the Leica STELLARIS 8 you can always expand your possibilities.

By combining STELLARIS 8 with our extensive range of modalities, it is possible to add even more functionality to your system.

Confocal Microscope Platform STELLARIS

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