I would like to introduce COLM (CLARITY Optimized Light-sheet Microscope) for high-speed imaging of large clarified samples at high resolution.
At the least three major innovations were needed over the light sheet microscopy idea to make COLM a reality. The details are here:http://www.nature.com/nprot/journal/v9/n7/full/nprot.2014.123.html
And, additional details will be added here:http://clarityresourcecenter.com/COLM.html
COLM specs in brief:
* An entire mouse brain can be imaged in 3-4 hours at half a micron resolution, and in about a day at quarter of micron resolution (spine level details).
* A mouse brain is about 3 TB of raw data at half a micron resolution, and about 10 TB at quarter micron. Therefore, COLM does real-time data compression (4-5 fold loss-less compression).
* In current version, a tissue of 1.4 cm x 1.4 cm x 4.5 cm size can be imaged at quarter of micron resolution.
* Current version can image up to 4 colors in one sample. 6 LASER engine is suggested in the current design.
* A very advanced, intuitive and easy-to-use control software (more or less a push-button system).
A conscious effort was made to develop COLM with off-the-shelf parts. Very minimum custom manufacturing needed. Current cost is estimated at less than 400K (excluding control software, which we will provide free-of-cost), and will become cheaper. I would estimate a system assembly time of a few days, once all parts are available.
Although I will be very happy to help spread the technology, I do realize that many labs may not be equipped for custom-built COLM. Therefore, currently exploring commercialization options to make it easily accessible and even more easier to use, provided there is enough interest.
As far as I know there is no other system that can image as large a sample at as high-resolution in as quick time as COLM.