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J Neurosci Methods. 2007 May 15;162(1-2):26-31. Epub 2006 Dec 21.

Simple Windows-based software for the control of laser scanning confocal microscopes.

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Department of Pharmacology, The School of Pharmacy, 29-39 Brunswick Square, London, United Kingdom.


Rapid advances in computer processing power and the appearance of low cost, high speed multifunction data acquisition hardware makes the control of confocal laser scanning microscopes (CLSMs) with standard laboratory hardware a potentially straightforward task. This paper describes software designed to control a Biorad MRC 600 scan head under Windows 2000 or XP. Using a single high speed, multifunction data acquisition board running under the Igor Pro software environment, waveforms required to drive the scan head galvanometers can be generated and up to two channels of images (768 x 512 pixels at 8 or 12 bit levels) captured live or at set intervals. Image averaging, zooming, panning and cropping are supported as is live region of interest measurements over time. The software can trigger or be triggered by external devices via TTL signals and, with the addition of a commercial focus controller, Z scans can also be made. Control of the original neutral density and emission filters of multiple laser-based systems is also supported via serial control. The software should be easily adaptable to control custom designed scanning systems or other older makes of CLSM and it can be integrated with additional acquisition boards for simultaneous electrophysiological recording.

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