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J Microsc. 1990 Jan;157(Pt 1):29-38.

A confocal video-rate laser-beam scanning reflected-light microscope with no moving parts.

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  • 1National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892.


A no-moving-parts, 30 frames/s, laser-beam scanning confocal reflected-light microscope has been developed. In principle, the technique can be extended to fluorescence and transmission light microscopy. Acousto-optic beam deflectors controlled by digital electronics move a laser beam in a 512-line interlaced 8.5 x 8.5-mm raster. The light passes through a beam splitter, enters an inverted microscope through the side camera port, and is imaged at the object by the microscope objective. Reflected light returns through the objective, exits the camera port, is reflected off the beam splitter, and is imaged on to the photocathode of an image dissector tube (IDT). Confocality is provided by raster scanning the IDT aperture coincident with the congruent image of the laser beam incident on the object. Real-time jitter-free reflected light images of a variety of biological objects have been produced. Computer-controlled alignment of the laser scan and IDT is performed in several seconds.

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