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Zeiss Microscopy Image Contest 2022 winners

23 Aug 2022

Striking images of organic and inorganic systems demonstrate impact of imaging technology.

Zeiss has unveiled the winners of its 2022 Microscopy Image Contest, a competition intended to showcase the capabilities of the company's microscopy platforms across five categories, and highlight the novel perspectives that current imaging technology can deliver.

"For the second time, Zeiss is celebrating the work of researchers using microscopy in various application fields with an image contest," commented the company. "Microscope systems, analytics, and imaging capabilities play a central role in enabling us to meet the critical challenges we face as a society related to climate change, energy, health, and food."

In the Life Sciences category the winner showed oral bacteria forming a complex biofilm on the surface of the human tongue, a stained image taken by Tagide deCarvalho at the University of Maryland using a Zeiss LSM 900 confocal microscope with Airyscan detector.

The LSM 900 platform combines six objectives and four visible laser lines from 405 to 638 nanometers, while Airyscan is a 32-channel gallium arsenide phosphide detector that collects a pinhole-plane image at every scan position. Each detector element can function as a single small pinhole, according to Zeiss, and knowledge about the beam path and spatial distribution of each detector channel enables very light-efficient imaging with improved resolution and signal-to-noise ratio.

"In addition to the microscopy imaging I perform for scientific collaborations and research studies, I take my own microscopy images from samples that I find in my personal environment, such as moldy fruit from my home refrigerator or moss growing on the side of the Biological Sciences building that I walk past on the way to one of my labs," commented deCarvalho about her inspiration for this picture.

The winning entry in the Microscopy As A Hobby category showed the head of a mosquito larva taken from the Pearl River in Guangzhou, China, an image acquired with a Zeiss Axiostar light microscope by Hong Lin. The Axiostar upright microscope is intended for use in settings such as hospitals, laboratories, schools and universities, and its imaging capabilities were a good fit with the monitoring of aquatic microorganisms in the outdoor environment undertaken by Hong Lin.

"I am very happy to have taken this photograph, which illustrates the tracheal distribution of the thorax and head of a mosquito larva. And I think it is a successful attempt to combine science and art," said Lin.

Honorable Mentions in the contest included an image of an optically cleared spider taken by Sebastien Dupichaud at the SFR Necker research center in Paris.

This image employed a Zeiss Lightsheet Z.1, a light sheet fluorescence microscopy (LSFM) platform. In LSFM thin slices of a sample, usually hundreds of nanometers or a few microns in thickness, are illuminated by a laser source perpendicularly to the direction of observation for improved signal to noise behavior and lower phototoxicity.

The Lightsheet platform was also designed to improve the imaging of large optically cleared specimens. When the company's Lightsheet 7 device was introduced in 2020, Zeiss showed that it could image entire mouse brains as part of the study of brain function and development.

A full display of Winners and Honorable Mentions can be found on the Zeiss site.

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