Our microscope utilizes a novel serial sectioning technique to create three dimensional models of large volume tissue samples. 3Scan uses the cutting edge technology of the KESM (Knife Edge Scanning Microscope) to automatically section and image samples.
Knife-edge scanning, introduced in the KESM instrument, not only preserves image registration throughout the depth of the specimen block but also isolates the tissue above the knife from that below to eliminate undesirable events (back-scattering of light and bleaching of fluorescent-stained tissue below the knife). Knife-edge scanning supports all known forms of microscopy (absorption imaging using transmitted light, and reflected light imaging using bright-field, dark-field, DIC, and GFP fluorescence). Using the KESM, 3Scan is able to scan a one cc^3 block of tissue (for example, a whole mouse brain) at submicron resolution in under 100 hours. With this resolution (a voxel size of 0.6 um x 0.7 um x 1.0 um) 3Scan is able to show cell scale phenomena in the context of a complete organ. In the example of a whole mouse brain this means that 3Scan is able to accurately model every neuron in the mouse brain sample.