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THUNDER Technology Note

THUNDER Imagers: How Do They Really Work?

THUNDER Imagers deliver in real time images of 3D specimens with sharp contrast, free of the haze or out-of-focus blur typical of widefield systems. They can even image clearly places deep inside a thick specimen. Exactly how are they able to do this? This tech note explains how the THUNDER technology works. The full version can be downloaded below.

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The THUNDER Technology: Computational Clearing

THUNDER Imagers use an integrative holistic approach to overcome the limitations of camera-based imaging systems. They expand camera-based imaging to a new application range for 3D samples. This approach largely comes down to a new, innovative Leica opto-digital technique called Computational Clearing (CC).

Computational Clearing detects and removes the unwanted signals from out-of-focus regions of the specimen in real time. It clearly reveals the desired signals from the in-focus region of interest within the specimen. CC distinguishes between the out-of-focus and in-focus signals via the difference in size of the features. Together with the feature size, CC automatically takes all relevant optical parameters into account. CC starts in real time right at the beginning of the image acquisition.

The CC method can successfully visualize specimen details with sharp focus and contrast for specimens that are usually not suitable for imaging with standard widefield systems. Computational Clearing can be combined with image restoration methods. 

THUNDER Imagers come with a number of different options in combination with Computational Clearing that are optimized for the various types of samples.

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