updated 11/15/2010 10:46:25 AM ET 2010-11-15T15:46:25

MELVILLE, N.Y., Nov. 15, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Nikon Instruments Inc., an innovator of advanced optical instruments, announced today that the N-STORM Super Resolution microscope system is now available for purchase and delivery. The microscope will be on exhibit at the Neuroscience 2010 show in San Diego, Calif., November 13-17, 2010.

In December 2009, Nikon announced it had signed an exclusive licensing agreement with Harvard University granting Nikon the rights to use the Stochastic Optical Reconstruction Microscopy (STORM) technology. Under the terms of the agreement, Nikon manufactured STORM enabled microscopy systems and marketed them with the N-STORM name. The new microscope system incorporates the STORM methodology and is designed to realize resolution higher than ever before achieved by conventional optical microscopes.

"N-STORM will surely be an enabling technology for scientists to enhance our understanding of biology, seeing three dimensional structure, with single protein specificity, at resolution never before possible," said Stephen Ross, General Manager, Products and Marketing, Nikon Instruments Inc.

The STORM technology is a novel advanced form of optical microscopy and provides a solution for the universal desire among life science researchers to observe tissues and cells more clearly. Optical microscopy is one of the most widely used imaging methods in biomedical research. However, the spatial resolution of optical microscopy, classically limited by the diffraction of light to several hundred nanometers, is substantially larger than typical molecular length scales in cells, leaving many biological investigations beyond the reach of light microscopy. To overcome this limit, a new form of high resolution light microscopy, STORM, was developed in the laboratory of Dr. Xiaowei Zhuang, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology and Professor of Physics at Harvard University. STORM uses photo-switchable fluorescent probes to temporally separate the otherwise spatially overlapping images of individual molecules, allowing the construction of super resolution images. Using this concept, two- and three-dimensional, multicolor fluorescence images of molecular complexes, cells and tissues with a few tens of nanometers resolution has been achieved. This new form of fluorescence microscopy allows molecular interactions in cells and cell-cell interactions in tissues to be imaged at the nanometer scale.

An order of magnitude better resolution than conventional optical microscopes

N-STORM is based on the world renowned Nikon Eclipse Ti research inverted microscope incorporating CFI60 objectives featuring high numerical apertures developed using unique optical design, coatings and manufacturing techniques. N-STORM provides dramatically enhanced resolution that is 10 times or better than that of conventional optical microscopes. The N-STORM instrumentation is capable of multi-spectral two-dimensional and three-dimensional nanoscopy, with lateral resolution to approximately 20nm and axial resolution to approximately 50nm, extending the role of the optical microscope to near molecular level resolution.

Image construction by overlaying single molecule images

The STORM method is new technology that reconstructs high resolution fluorescence images (2D and 3D) from localization information of fluorophores detected with high accuracy and calculated from multiple exposures. It generates much more information from detection of single molecule fluorescence emissions and goes one step further, from structural to molecular understanding of the specimen.

Three-dimensional information capability

The N-STORM Super Resolution microscope system not only provides high-resolution two-dimensional image acquisition capability, but with the addition of a 3D optical relay device, switchover to 3D nanoscopy of multi-color super-resolution fluorescence images is possible, without the need for time consuming serial section acquisition.

ABOUT NIKON INSTRUMENTS INC.

Nikon Instruments Inc. is a world leader in the development and manufacture of optical and digital imaging technology for biomedical applications. Now in its 93rd year, Nikon provides complete optical systems that offer optimal versatility, performance and productivity. Cutting-edge instruments include microscopes, digital imaging products and software. Nikon Instruments is one of the microscopy and digital imaging arms of Nikon Inc., the world leader in digital imaging, precision optics and photo imaging technology. For more information, visit www.nikoninstruments.com. Product-related inquiries may be directed to Nikon Instruments at 800-52-NIKON.

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