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Leica and NKT Photonics sign supercontinuum laser deal

26 Nov 2015

Laser maker to supply optical device developer with source for specialized FLIM and super resolution imaging and more.

Microscopy, camera and associated software solutions developer Leica Microsystems has signed a 14-month supply contract with NKT Photonics to deliver “significant numbers” of its SuperK Extreme supercontinuum lasers. The laser powers the Leica TCS SP8 X high-end confocal microscope used worldwide for high-resolution bio-imaging. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In the Leica TCS SP8 X confocal microscope, the SuperK Extreme white light laser enables excitation at any wavelength in the visible range giving access to a large range of fluorophores. Moreover, the pulsed nature of the SuperK makes it possible to study fast lifetime phenomena with FLIM – Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging. For even higher resolution and flexibility, the SuperK can be combined with a STED module or even a light sheet option for super-resolution images beyond the diffraction limit.

The fluorescence lifetime is a measure of how long a fluorophore remains in its excited state before returning to the ground state by emitting a fluorescence photon. The emission of a fluorescence photon from a fluorophore does not occur at a fixed time. Instead, a distribution of times is observed, which can be described by an exponential decay function. The characteristic time constant of this decay, the fluorescence lifetime, is in the range of a few picoseconds to several tens of nanoseconds.

FLIM combines lifetime measurements with imaging: lifetimes obtained at the pixel-level are color-coded to produce images. By this means, FLIM can develop a set of information about the spatial distribution of a fluorescent molecule together with information about its nano-environment – effectively enabling an additional dimension of information to be obtained.

Performance benchmark

NKT Photonics CTO, Christian Poulsen commented on the collaboration with Leica Microsystems, “We have worked with Leica Microsystems since 2005 and their dedication to quality and performance has been a great benchmark for us in our product development. Today, we are proud to deliver our best supercontinuum lasers to Leica.”

CEO Basil Garabet added, “Being a leading industrial laser manufacturer, our product quality, lean production and ramp-up capabilities are key to our ability to deliver in volume. We have certainly benefited from being a key supplier to Leica Microsystems and their culture of lean manufacturing.”

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