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The Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology has a Leica SP2 AOBS Laser Confocal Microscope. This is the latest development from Leica Microsystems and uses the Acousto-Optic Beam Splitter (AOBS) and a prism instead of the usual filter sets, these innovations allow for lower laser power, precision control and higher sensitivity. The microscope can also perform spectral imaging where the fluorescent labels can be identified by their individual characteristics. Normal fluorescent microscopy is limited to two or three, well colour separated fluorescent probes (green/red, blue/green/red); this system can identify up to eight at once, including probes with significant colour overlap (green/ yellow-green). The flexibility of the system is complemented by intuitive software that displays graphically the physical settings.
In practice we can obtain images near the theoretical limit of optical resolution, perform 3D reconstruction of specimens, as well as live cell microscopy experiments on cellular trafficking, such as Fluorescent Replacement After Photobleaching (FRAP) and measure molecular interactions with Fourier Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET).