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Live Cell Imaging

Keeping cells viable is crucial for obtaining artifact-free data in long-term imaging. Control and maintenance of temperature, pH and humidity as well as low light stress and stage stability are prerequisites for successful experiments.

Shifting perspective from single microscope components to a full working live cell imaging solution, Leica Microsystems integrates microscope, LAS X imaging software, cameras, and dedicated third-party components into a complete live cell imaging system.

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Our experts on solutions for live cell imaging applications are happy to help you with their advice.

Live Cell Imaging Products

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STELLARIS - Confocal Microscope Platform


With the STELLARIS confocal platform, we have re-imagined confocal microscopy to get you closer to the truth.

THUNDER Imager Model Organism

The THUNDER Imager Model Organism allows fast and easy 3D exploration of whole organisms for developmental or molecular biology research.

THUNDER Imager Live Cell & 3D Cell Culture & 3D Assay

THUNDER Imagers provide you with a solution for advanced 3D cell culture assays, whether you want to study stem cells, spheroids, or organoids.

THUNDER Imager Tissue

The THUNDER Imager Tissue allows real-time fluorescence imaging of 3D tissue sections typically used in neuroscience and histology research.

Digital Light Sheet Microscoep STELLARIS DLS


Discover new applications by combining confocal and light-sheet microscopy

Inverted Microscope for Cell and Tissue Culture

Leica DMi1

Entry level inverted microscope

Inverted Laboratory Microscope with LED Illumination


Inverted Laboratory Microscope with LED Illumination

Monochrome Digital Camera for Ultra-fast Live Cell Imaging and Superb Fluorescence Documentation

Leica DFC365 FX

1.4 MP cooled monochrome camera for standard live cell imaging of GFP-expressing cells and tissues

Live Cell Imaging System

Inverted Microscope Platform Leica DMi8

A shift of perspective from microscope components to a live cell imaging system dedicated to your applications.

Keep your cells alive using environmental components such as the new INCUBATORi8.

  • Fully motorized Leica DMi8
  • Leica Adaptive Focus Control (AFC)
  • Infinity Port (Additional incident illumination port)
  • Lumencor SpectraX (multi-LED light source)
  • External fast filter wheels
  • INCUBATORi8 (Environmental chamber)
  • Leica DFC9000 (sCMOS camera)
  • Leica Application Suite X (Software) with Enviromental control and advanced analysis modules

Impressive focus accuracy

Do you need a fast software auto-focus, but also highly accurate positioning to follow small structures like vesicles over time? Or do you need high resolution three-dimensional images of large data sets?

Accurate 3D imaging

In both cases, standard microscope focus drives do not work with sufficient accuracy to obtain meaningful data at high resolution.

Rather than using a step motor, the Closed Loop Focus drive measures and positions with 20 nm reproducibility over an increased travel range of 12 mm. With this level of precision, 3D imaging is more accurate than ever before.

Stay in focus

During long term imaging, cells and their environment often change. To ensure that your cells stay in focus Leica offers two automated systems: the hardware based Adaptive Focus Control (AFC) and the image- based High Speed Autofocus.

AFC keeps the focus stable

  • The AFC actively keeps the focus stable even after changing environmental conditions.
  • The image-based High Speed Autofocus uses independent camera and illumination settings to find the focal plane with a low amount of light on the sample.
  • Combine AFC with High-Speed Autofocus to actively refocus, lower focus time and minimize phototoxicity.

Software for live cell imaging

Leica Application Suite X (LAS X) is the imaging and analysis software for live cell imaging from basic documentation to advanced fluorescence imaging, including super-resolution and confocal microscopy.

LAS X Software

Learning to use LAS X software for all of your applications is straightforward. Utilizing a workflow-based structure, the software is built to get you up and running quickly.

When it comes to data analysis, LAS X has you covered with wizard-based automated 2D and 3D image analysis. From simple documentation to complex analyses in multiple dimensions, this software is up to the challenge with comprehensive solutions for your research. 

Create the right environment

Users expect more from their inverted microscopes when it comes to live cell experiments. A complete system optimized for long term imaging relies on optimal measurement conditions and reproducible results.

Beside keeping cells in the optimal conditions, microscope components such as stages, specimen holders and optics are key factors for the success of live cell experiments. With a thoughtfully integrated system from Leica, your imaging experiment will result in meaningful, reproducible data, ready for publication.

Leica Incubation systems (pdf)

With the Environmental Control module in LAS X, all environmental control parameter are combined in one user-interface, making it easy to control and monitor conditions throughout your experiment.

High-speed fluorescence

High-speed live cell experiments require a seamlessly integrated system composed of sophisticated software control, fast fluorescence and sensitive cameras that work together to deliver the highest quality imaging results.

With the DFC9000 sCMOS camera, you get not only the cutting-edge in camera technology, but also a perfect match to maximize the imaging potential of the DMi8. 


Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence

For dynamic processes at the cell surface, TIRF (Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence) microscopy is the method of choice to visualize cellular events with minimal fluorescent interference from out-of-focus light.

With the Leica DMi8 TIRF system, you can observe samples with outstanding clarity, control, and confidence.

Standard imaging port matches 19 mm diagonal of DFC9000 sensor. See 41% more at a glance and be 30% faster during tile scans.

External Filter Wheel

Leica Microsystems’ External Filter Wheels for living cell applications are fast, vibration-free, and exceptionally versatile. Use the fast filter wheels for excitation, attenuation and emission control to capture cellular events at the speed of life.

Excitation and emission light can be selected in just 24 milliseconds (acquisition speed: 31 fps), and individual excitation colors can be attenuated just as quickly.

Outstanding image quality

The best image quality combines superior optics with intelligent innovations for live cell research.

Simplify adaption to your sample’s refractive index with an objective with motorized correction collar. During long term imaging, the Water Immersion Microdispenser counteracts water evaporation when as an immersion medium. Or choose an objective dedicated to live cell imaging at 37°C, like the 63x glycerol objective. Maintain the sharpest images with ease.

Innovative accessories like the MotCorr objectives ensure that the objective matches the refractive index of your sample. 

About Live Cell Imaging

Besides the structural organization of cells or organs, dynamic processes are a major contributor to a functioning biological entity. Naturally, these processes can be best observed in living cells with non-invasive techniques like optical methods, collectively called “live-cell imaging” methods. Live-cell imaging covers all techniques where live cells are observed with microscopes – from the observation of embryogenesis with stereo microscopes, via cell growth studies with compound microscopes, until studies of physiological states of cells or cellular transport using fluorescent dyes or proteins. Although being highly demanding for both, experimenter and equipment (e.g. imaging systems, climate control), live-cell imaging techniques deliver results that are indispensable for present-day research.