Confocal Rig

OBA Light Imaging Facility

There are three microscopes available in this facility:

-Two Zeiss Laser Scanning Microscopes (LSM) – Upright LSM 710 and (coming soon) upright LSM 900 with Airy Scan

-One Zeiss Selective/Single Plane Illumination Microscopy (SPIM) aka Lightsheet – Z.1 Lightsheet microscope

Upright LSM 710

  • Lasers: diode 405nm (UV), argon multiline (458nm, 488nm, 514nm), diode 561nm, Helium-Neon 633nm
  • Objectives: 10x/0.45 Plan-Apochromat WD 2.0mm, 10x/0.3 W N-Achroplan WD 2.6mm, 20x/0.8 Plan-Apochromat WD 0.55mm, 25x/0.8 lmm Plan-Neo Flour DIC WD 0.21mm, 40x/1.0 W Plan-Apochromat WD 2.5mm, 40x/1.1 W LD C-Apochromat WD 0.62mm
  • Also available: 5x/0.16 Plan-Apochromat WD 12.1mm, 100x/1.4 Oil Plan-Apochromat WD 0.17mm
  • Detectors: 34-channel spectral detection, 8-channel AOTF
  • Computer: Intel Xeon 2.67GHz 6 Core, 6GB RAM, Windows 7 Ultimate, with StitchArt, Physiology and Multi-Time for ZEN 2010
  • Motorized PILine M-686 XY microscope stage, with 0.1 µm resolution, and joystick controller 

Upright LSM 900 with Airy Scan 

  • Self-standby diode laser lines 405, 488, 561, and 640 nm
  • Objectives: 2.5x/0.085 EC Plan-NEOFLUAR WD 8.8mm, 25x/0.8 Imm LD LCI Plan-apochromat DIC M27 WD 0.57mm, 40x/1.3 Plan-Apochomat Oil DIC M27 WD 0.20mm, 40x/1.1 W LD C-Apochromat WD 0.62mm
  • Confocal scanhead featuring 3 detectors and full emission tunability
  • Airyscan 2 superresolution detector with up to 90 nm XY, 270 nm Z resolution;
  • includes high-speed multiplexing modes
  • Sample Navigator set, with 2.5x overview lens and integrated Axiocam 506 camera
  • Stagetop temperature control with temperature sensor
  • ZEN 3.7 software suite including Z-stack, time lapse, photobleaching, photoactivation, spectral unmixing, automated image analysis, colocalization, autofocus, 3D rendering, tile scanning/stitching

Z.1 Lightsheet Microscope

  • Lasers: Solid state laser (445nm, 488nm, 561nm)
  • Fluorophores this microscope can image: Cyan (CFP), Green (GFP, Alexa 488), and Near Red (DsRed, mCherry)
  • Objectives: 5x / NA 0.16 dry (uses 5x NA 0.1 dry illumination objectives), 20x / 1.0 water dipper (uses 10x NA 0.2 dry illumination objectives), 40x / 1.0 water dipper (uses 10x NA 0.2 dry illumination objectives)
  • Sample Chamber: Sample is held in a buffer-filled chamber during imaging. PBS, seawater and nutrient buffers (e.g. E3) have all been used successfully. Water cooled/heated Peltier block for chamber temperature settings from 10C-42C.
  • Green/red or cyan/red simultaneous imaging is possible. Cyan/green or three-color serial imaging is also possible.
  • 360 degree sample rotation plus programming for imaging from multiple angles. Incorporation of beads allows for multi-angle 3D reconstructions.
  • Off-line version of Zeiss Zen software available on facility workstation.


The LSM 710 was purchased thanks to a NSF Major Research Instrument Grant led by Prof. Melina Hale and Prof. Victoria Prince. This equipment is made available to members of the University of Chicago and the Field Museum of Natural History, with a primary focus on researchers from the labs within the Hull Court of Biological Sciences cluster (Anatomy, Culver, Erman, and Zoology).

Trained users with facility access may click here to reserve time for either microscope. Users may reserve at minimum 30 minutes, and at most 18 hours, though extension is possible for time-series experiments.

More Information on the Confocal Microscope Facility

Adam Kuuspalu, Technical Director

Ph: (773) 834-8422


The Confocal Digital Imaging Facility is located in the basement  of the Anatomy building (1027 E 57th Street), in room 007.

Access to the facility is coordinated through the Technical Director, Adam Kuuspalu, and is typically granted after successful completion of a required facility orientation and training course.

For more information on facility access, please contact Adam at

LSM 710 Peak Hour Rate: $20/hour

LSM 710 Off-Peak Hour Rate: $15/hour


LSM 900 Peak Hour Rate: $24/hour

LSM 900 Off-Peak Hour Rate: $18/hour


Z.1 Lightsheet Peak Hour Rate: $15/hour

Z.1 Lightsheet Off-Peak Hour Rate: $10/hour


Peak hours fall between 9AM-6PM, Monday-Friday

Off-peak hours fall between 6PM-9AM, Monday-Friday, weekends, and university-observed holidays.


Rates for the Confocal Digital Imaging Facility are periodically reviewed and updated.

All rates shown here are effective as of 12/1/2023.

You can make a training appointment by contacting Adam Kuuspalu, the Technical Director, at Appointments should be made at least one week in advance, and are dependent on the availability of the facility.

Required training for access to the Confocal Digital Imaging Facility involves learning how to properly use the LSM 710 confocal microscope.  It takes approximately 1-2 hours, depending on your familiarity with microscopy.