Chemistry World takes a close look at what’s on the market for microscopes

Zoom in on the 50+ optical and electron microscopes produced by 14 different manufacturers in our microscopy product guide.

Microscopy - Product guide cover

Source: © Shutterstock

For full details of each instrument, read the full PDF guide.

BioTek Instruments is a global leader in the development, manufacture and sale of microplate instrumentation, including imaging and microscopy, multi-mode detection, liquid handling and automation systems. Our products are used to aid in the advancement of life science research and to facilitate the drug discovery process. Our instrumentation provides rapid and cost-effective analysis to enable sensitive and accurate quantification of a wide range of molecules and cells across diverse applications.
Optical
Product typeProduct nameApplicationsDescription
Imager Lionheart FX Automated Live Cell Imager 3D cell imaging, phenotypic assays, translocation, wound migration, kinetic live cell assays (normal & fast), cell culture QC, cell migration and invasion, cell proliferation, calcium flux, apoptosis, cytotoxicity, tumor invasion, cell viability, signal transduction, neurite outgrowth, stem cell differentiation, phagocytosis Lionheart FX Automated Live Cell Imager with Augmented Microscopy is optimised for live cell applications, with automated image capture, analysis, annotation and video production. This fully integrated digital microscopy system includes fluorescence, brightfield, colour brightfield and phase contrast up to 100× magnification. Temperature, gas and humidity control create an ideal environment for a wide variety of cell-based studies
Imager Cytation 5 Cell Imaging Multi-Mode Reader 2D and 3D cell imaging and analysis, cell proliferation, cytotoxicity, biomarker quantification, drug discovery, genetic analysis, drug absorption and metabolism, biologics drug discovery and development, environmental testing, food safety, nucleic acid and protein quantification Modular Cytation 5 Cell Imaging Multi-Mode Reader combines automated digital microscopy and conventional multi-mode microplate detection for data-rich qualitative and quantitative data. Microscopy includes fluorescence, brightfield, colour brightfield and phase contrast up to 60×, while reading features patented Hybrid Technology; combining filter- and monochromator-based detection for unmatched assay versatility
Imager Cytation 3 Cell Imaging Multi-Mode Reader 2D and 3D cell imaging and analysis, cell proliferation, cytotoxicity, biomarker quantification, drug discovery, genetic analysis, drug absorption and metabolism, biologics drug discovery and development, environmental testing, food safety, nucleic acid and protein quantification Cytation 3 Cell Imaging Multi-Mode Reader combines automated digital fluorescence microscopy and conventional microplate detection in a single, modular and upgradable platform. Quantitative and phenotypic analyses may be completed easily and efficiently across a variety of assays. Cytation 3 is particularly useful for live cell assays where temperature control and available gas control module create an ideal environment for growing, imaging, counting and analyzing cells in microplates, slides, petri dishes and other vessels
Bruker Optics, part of the Bruker Corporation is one of the world’s leading manufacturer and worldwide supplier of Fourier transform infrared, near infrared and Raman spectrometers. Bruker Optics offers complete technical solutions for various markets which cover a broad range of applications in all fields of research and development as well as industrial production processes for the purpose of ensuring quality and process reliability. Bruker Optics has R&D and manufacturing centres in Ettlingen, Germany, and The Woodlands, US, and technical support centers and sales offices throughout Europe, North and South America, Asia, India, Middle East and Africa.
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Product typeProduct nameApplicationsDescription
FTIR microscope Lumos Identification of particles; analysis of defects and contaminations; surface analysis; fibre identification; determination of the chemical composition of complex samples Lumos is a fully automated stand-alone FTIR microscope. It combines best performance for visual inspection and infrared spectral analysis of micro samples with highest comfort in use. It is very easy to use due to its high degree of automation and the very intuitive software
FTIR microscope Hyperion Material science; life science; polymer laminates; forensics and art The FTIR microscope Hyperion provides the highest measuring sensitivity at the highest spatial resolution for demanding research. It is a high-end FTIR microscope for R&D and optionally covers the full spectral range from FIR to UV–vis. The Hyperion 3000 includes FTIR-imaging with modern FPA technology
Raman microscope Senterra II Pharmaceutical; polymers; coatings and interfaces; materials science; forensics; art and cultural heritage; life science The Senterra II defines a new level of spectroscopic performance and user-friendliness in the class of compact Raman microscopes. It is very easy to use and provides Raman imaging combined with high spectral resolution. The Senterra II covers up to four lasers and combines optionally dispersive and FT-Raman spectroscopy
Delmic specialises in research instruments that integrate the detection of photons and electrons. Delmic produces correlative microscopy solutions that cater to a broad range of researchers in fields ranging from nanophotonics to cell biology. Products are fully compatible with all brands of SEMs and are focused on high performance and user friendliness.
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Product typeProduct nameApplicationsDescription
Integrated correlative microscopy platform Secom Life sciences The Secom platform is a fluorescence microscope made to be integrated with a scanning electron microscope. The system enables extremely fast microscopy with the highest optical quality and overlay accuracy
Electron
Product  typeProduct nameApplicationsDescription
Cathodoluminescence detection system Sparc Materials and optics The Sparc is a high-performance cathodoluminescence detection system. The system is designed to optimally collect and detect cathdoluminescence emission, enabling fast and sensitive material charaterisation at the nanoscale
Keyence is a world leader in advanced microscopes for imaging and measurement applications. Effortlessly capture fully focused images, undertake 3D surface analysis and perform measurements of your samples with a single device. In addition to our world-class products, Keyence offers a full range of services to further assist our customers. Our technically trained direct sales force is able to solve tough applications and answer technical questions about our products. We also provide fast shipping so customers can improve their processes as quickly as possible.
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Product typeProduct nameApplicationsDescription
Digital microscope VHX-5000 Observation, image capture, measurement, 3D surface analysis Next-generation optical microscope with a large depth-of-field and advanced measurement capabilities for inspection and failure analysis
Digital microscope VHX-900F Observation, image capture, measurement, 3D surface analysis Next-generation optical microscope with a large depth-of-field and advanced measurement capabilities for inspection and failure analysis.
Leica Microsystems develops and manufactures microscopes and scientific instruments for the analysis of microstructures and nanostructures. Ever since the company started as a family business in the 19th century, its instruments have been widely recognised for their optical precision and innovative technology. It is one of the market leaders in compound and stereo microscopy, digital microscopy, confocal laser scanning microscopy with related imaging systems, electron microscopy sample preparation, and surgical microscopes. Leica Microsystems is represented in over 100 countries, has sales and service organisations in 20 countries, and an international network of distribution partners. Its headquarters are located in Wetzlar, Germany.
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Product typeProduct nameApplicationsDescription
Compound microscope Leica DM4 P Plastics and polymers, drugs, pharmaceuticals, minerals The fully coded and semi-automated Leica DM4 P can be used to get  perfect orthoscopy and conoscopy images. You can configure the Leica DM4 P with LED illumination either for transmitted light or incident light or with LED for both transmitted light and incident light in one go
Inverted compound microscope Leica DMi8  Metallography, materials research With the Leica DMi8 you can see more of your sample with the the exclusive macro objective (35.7mm sample overview). Stay flexible with the inverted microscope and take advantage of a large working space to easily place huge and heavy samples
Digital microscope Leica DVM6 Plastics and polymers, materials research The Leica DVM6 is the perfect solution for every user. It is designed for easy use with one hand objective change, easy tilting function and shows details down to 0.4µm
Stereo microscope Leica M205 A All materials for research, QA and QC The Leica M205 A is a fully automated stereo microscope with 20.5:1 zoom and uses the unique FusionOptics. Choose from a wide range of accessories to customise the system to your specific applications
Surface metrology microscope Leica DCM8 Surface and roughness analysis The Leica DCM8 unites confocal microscopy with interferometry into one system. Achieve vertical resolution up to 2nm with HD confocal microscopy and for super fine surfaces obtain a resolution of up to 0.1nm with interferometry
Motic was established in 1988 as a hi-tech industrial enterprise specialised in manufacturing conventional compound microscopes. The company has sales offices in Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Spain and the United States. Moreover, it has four wholly-owned factories across China. During the late 1990s, Motic started to explore and develop affordable digital microscopy solutions. This has proven to be a worthwhile investment turning Motic into one of the leading brands of digital microscopy. The main goal of Motic remains the same today as it was when it was founded: making sure its users get products with an excellent price/performance ratio.
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Product typeProduct nameApplicationsDescription
Basic upright microscope BA210E Education With the introduction of the new BA210 Elite model, Motic again has listened to the educational market and its demands on a basic transmitted light microscope. Designed for ease of use and longevity, the BA210E features robust mechanics combined with improved optical performance for the student level
Advanced upright microscope BA310E Universities, clinics and laboratories Motic’s new BA310E is a professional transmitted light microscope, designed for intense use in universities, clinics and laboratories. Displaying the advanced quality level of Motic’s CCIS Infinity Optics, the new EC-Plan Achromat objectives are basis of a fully corrected intermediate image for professional digital documentation
Research upright microscope BA410E Universities and laboratories (haematology, cytology and histology) The BA410 Elite is Motic’s brand new approach for a professional research microscope with best image quality options. Universities and laboratories with applications in haematology, cytology and histology will look for this flexible microscope platform with a superb performance in optics and mechanics
Routine inverted microscope AE2000 Clinical and pharmaceutical laboratories, also university teaching The AE2000 microscopes are Motic’s entry models of inverted microscopes, providing a flexible optical concept to meet best image quality and robust design for a long lifetime under rough lab conditions. The AE2000 is the perfect microscope for routine microbiology in clinical and pharmaceutical laboratories, also offering best options for university teaching
Advanced inverted microscope AE31E Clinical and pharmaceutical laboratories, also university research environments The AE31 Elite is Motic’s new statement for a professional inverted microscope providing best image quality, ergonomic design and clever illumination features. The AE31E is the perfect platform for all kinds of routine microbiology applications in clinical and pharmaceutical laboratories with best options for university research environments
Stereo microscope zoom SMZ171 A wide range of biological and material science applications With the new SMZ-171 Stereo Zoom microscope Motic proudly introduces an optically improved addition to its well-established SMZ Stereo series. New materials for ESD compatibility as well as optimised LED illumination options have been added to this series to create a versatile stereo microscope platform for a wide range of biological and material science applications
Digital slide scanner MoticEasyScan Medical environments (cytology, histology and cytopathology) MoticEasyScan is an efficient scanning instrument for producing and sharing high-quality digital images. Simple and easy, the implemented software allows untrained users a quick and reliable data acquisition: one click starts a complete scanning process. Digitisation of ‘classical’ glass slide information is an essential approach for more reliable, fast and efficient work in medical environments of cytology, histology and cytopathology

The Olympus microscope range

The Olympus microscope range

Source: © Olympus

1. BX43 upright manual system microscope2. BX53 upright semi-motorised fluorescence microscope3. CX23 upright biological microscope4. CX31P upright polarising microscope5. ScanR inverted microscope

Olympus is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of professional opto-digital products for medicine, science and industry. As a result, Olympus provides a comprehensive range for all market requirements. From microscopes for training and routine tasks to high-end system solutions in the fields of life science, there is a system for every need. The product line is complemented by innovative laboratory equipment for cellular research applications and the new all-in-one microscopes that offer user engagement at all levels.
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Product typeProduct nameApplicationsDescription
Microscope CX23 Education Designed for operational ease, the CX23 microscope’s unique features accommodates the student and every requirement in the educational setting. This cost-effective system provides easy and safe operation throughout the workflow and ensures outstanding optical performance with large field number of 20
Microscope CX31P Geology The CX31P microscope is ideal for polarized light observations. Compact in design, yet capable of technically advanced tasks such as retardation measurements , the CX31P is a wise choice for daily laboratory use
Microscope BX43 Clinical The BX43 microscope offers an outstanding range of features, high optical performance and is the ideal platform for digital imaging. This flexible microscope offers various contrast methods and superior optics combined with true-colour LED illumination for excellent colour rendering. Efficiency is maximised by the ergonomic design, while ease of use is optimised by the light intensity manager, which eliminates manual intensity adjustments for each objective
Microscope BX53 Clinical The entire optical path of the BX53 is designed for optimal fluorescence imaging, using UIS2 components that set new standards in precision and clarity. High-quality mirror cube coatings provide excellent transmission and steep cut-offs, while almost all stray light is eliminated from interior surfaces for the best sensitivity and colour separation
Microscope ScanR Research ScanR is a modular microscope-based imaging platform designed for fully automated image acquisition and data analysis of biological samples. ScanR can handle many different formats, including multi-well plates, slides and custom-built arrays
Photometrics is the premier designer and manufacturer of high performance CMOS, EMCCD and CCD cameras, and multichannel imaging systems for bio research. Photometrics is the original architect of the world’s first scientific-grade EMCCD and the new family of Prime Scientific CMOS cameras. Founded in 1978, the company has supported scientists for over three decades with cutting edge solutions to meet their most demanding imaging requirements. Photometrics also offers OEM support and is headquartered in Tucson, Arizona in the US.
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Product typeProduct nameApplicationsDescription
sCMOS camera Prime Super-resolution microscopy, confocal microscopy, TIRF microscopy, high speed ratiometric imaging, lightsheet microscopy Photometrics Prime is the first intelligent scientific CMOS (sCMOS) camera to incorporate a powerful FPGA-based Embedded Signal Processing engine (ESP). ESP enables advanced real-time processing features: PrimeEnhance quantitatively increases the signal to noise ratio by 3–5×, increasing the clarity and quality of images. PrimeLocate dynamically evaluates acquired images and reduces the surplus of data generated during high speed super-resolution imaging. Prime is a versatile life science imaging solution that was designed using the latest sCMOS sensor technology. It is a high resolution camera with great sensitivity, extremely low noise high frame rates and impressive dynamic range. The large field of view maximises the usefulness of the imaging area, making it ideal for microscopy
sCMOS camera Prime 95B Super-resolution microscopy, confocal microscopy, single molecule fluorescence, lightsheet microscopy Photometrics Prime is the first intelligent scientific CMOS (sCMOS) camera to incorporate a powerful FPGA-based Embedded Signal Processing engine (ESP). ESP enables advanced real-time processing features: PrimeEnhance quantitatively increases the signal to noise ratio by 3–5×, increasing the clarity and quality of images. PrimeLocate dynamically evaluates acquired images and reduces the surplus of data generated during high speed super-resolution imaging. Prime is a versatile life science imaging solution that was designed using the latest sCMOS sensor technology. It is a high resolution camera with great sensitivity, extremely low noise high frame rates and impressive dynamic range. The large field of view maximises the usefulness of the imaging area, making it ideal for microscopy
QImaging develops CCD, EMCCD and scientific CMOS cameras for imaging in life science research and is an OEM supplier to biomedical instrument manufacturers. These affordable and versatile digital imaging solutions offer outstanding value, ease of use and reliability. Customers use QImaging cameras to perform quantitative image analysis and acquire high-resolution images for publication. The company consistently delivers imaging solutions and application-specific software that support a broad range of bioscience applications. QImaging was founded in 1999, holds ISO 9001:2008 certification and is headquartered in Surrey, British Columbia.
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Product typeProduct nameApplicationsDescription
sCMOS camera optiMOS Cell biology; ion transport physiology; biophysics  Featuring faster frame rates and lower noise, optiMOS was designed as the budget-friendly alternative that avoids complex data management in the PC. Capable of streaming 100fps with a 45% larger FOV and <2e–  of read noise, optiMOS delivers 10× the time resolution of CCD cameras without trading off on resolution or sensitivity
CCD camera Retiga R1 Applications that require fast, sensitive imaging and documentation; or detection and quantification The Retiga R1 is packed with advanced technical features that improve limits of detection and quantification. The camera generates large amounts of data, but handles it smoothly via the new super speed USB 3.0 interface. Inside the R1 camera, QImaging introduces Intelligent Quantification – on-camera intelligence features that correct for defective pixels and fast 50 MHz pixel digitisation that increases camera frame rates
CCD camera Retiga R3 Fixed or live cell imaging, time lapse imaging, slide scanning This 2.8MP CCD camera provides a large field of view for overview images, but is also capable of signal binning for work at high magnification or increased sensitivity. Data is easily managed with its high speed USB 3.0 interface
CCD camera Retiga R6 Time lapse imaging, tile-and-stitch microscopy, stereo microscopy The Retiga R6 provides a 6.0MP platform that will fit more into your field of view. It has the technical features needed to improve limits of detection and quantification. More importantly, the camera becomes an intuitive extension of your imaging system, smoothly delivering data from the super speed USB3.0 interface to your computer. Its on-camera intelligence features correct for defective pixels, remove accumulated dark current and make high dynamic range imaging available
CCD camera Retiga LUMO Bioluminescence imaging, routine fluorescence imaging The Retiga LUMO is packed with advanced technical features that enable detection and quantification of ultra-low light luminescence signals. This is accomplished by coupling deep cooling with FPGA-based intelligent features that correct defective pixels and remove accumulated dark current. The result is a camera that outperforms bioluminescence cameras more than twice the price
Santa Barbara Imaging designs, manufactures and sells a standard-line and custom OEM optical microscopes. Each has an integrated LED illuminator with customer choice of wavelength: UV through IR (1.55µm)    
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Product typeProduct nameApplicationsDescription
Microscope uScope Semiconductor, material science Compact industrial microscope
Fluorescence microscope uScope (Fluorescence) Bioscience, polymer Compact fluorescence microscope

Shimadzu FTIR microscope

Shimadzu FTIR microscope

Source: © Shimadzu

Shimadzu UK is organised and structured to support our customers fully with their requirements. We have a large, field-based team of sales specialists, and application and technical experts, supported by a fully trained and certified team of service engineers and office-based support staff.  All staff are fully employed and contactable in the UK mainland. Customers can have confidence that our organisation is designed to help them fully with their scientific analysis and research through both the profound and lengthy expertise of our staff and also our convenient locations, support infrastructure and professional facilities.
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Product typeProduct nameApplicationsDescription
FTIR microscope AIM-9000 Micro, failure, surface and contaminant analysis in food, pharma, electrical, forensic, academic, chemical and machinery sectors The AIM-9000 is compatible with both Shimadzu’s IRAffinity-1S and IRTracer-100 FTIR spectrophotometers. In combination with the IRTRacer-100, the AIM-9000 is an extremely powerful platform offering the highest specifications in the market
WITec is the leading manufacturer of confocal and scanning-probe microscopes for vital and diverse applications in Raman imaging, atomic force (AFM), and scanning near-field optical microscopy (SNOM). From the company’s founding in 1997, WITec has been distinguished by its innovative product portfolio and a microscope design that enables combinations of the various imaging techniques within one system. An example of the company’s breakthrough development is the world’s first integrated Raman-AFM microscope. To this day, WITec’s confocal microscopes are unrivaled in sensitivity, resolution and imaging capabilities. Significant innovation awards document WITec’s enduring success and innovative strength.
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Product typeProduct nameApplicationsDescription
Raman microscope alpha300 R Materials science, nanotechnology, life science, polymers, forensics, geoscience, pharmaceutics, food technology 3D Raman imaging and ultra-fast Raman imaging for label-free chemical imaging, unprecedented speed, sensitivity, spatial and spectral resolution, correlative microscopy possible: Raman-SEM/AFM/SNOM
Raman microscope apyron Materials science, nanotechnology, life science, polymers, forensics, geoscience, pharmaceutics, food technology Automated & motorised Raman imaging system (3D Raman imaging) featuring TruePower absolute laser power determination for class-leading performance: automatically
Raman microscope alpha300 access Materials science, nanotechnology, life science, polymers, forensics, geoscience, pharmaceutics, food technology High-quality confocal-micro Raman spectroscopy; single-spot and Raman mapping with exceptional spectral sensitivity; specifically engineered for budget-conscious customers requiring superior performance; access to the future of Raman spectroscopy through upgradeability
Near-field microscope alpha300 S Materials science, nanotechnology, life science, polymers, nano-photonics Combines confocal, SNOM and AFM in one single instrument; Confocal mode ideally suited for low light intensity levels; flexible design to fulfill various excitation and detection requirements; transmission, reflection, fluorescence, Raman, PL
Electron       
Product  typeProduct nameApplicationsDescription
Raman-SEM RISE Microscopy Materials science, nanotechnology, life science, polymers, forensics, geoscience, pharmaceutics, food technology Correlative Raman-SEM imaging integrated in one system. Quick and convenient switching between Raman and SEM measurement, Correlation of the measurement results and image overlay
Woodley Equipment provides diagnostic laboratory equipment for human and veterinary markets. Woodley Laboratory Diagnostics acts as master distributor across EMEA regions for QBC dry haematology analysers, QBC fluorescence microscopy solutions, Arkray POC, Vision Microscopes and Clinispin centrifuges.   
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Product typeProduct nameApplicationsDescription
Bionocular compound light microscope Vision V-5000 Any application requiring brightfield microscopy The Vision V5000 binocular microscope has an innovative LED-powered illumination system that results in a white light instead of the yellow light produced by filament lamps. It is robust and has been developed for heavy use: it consists of high quality components which assure a high image contrast and excellent optical resolution. With a modern and ergonomic design, it is easy to handle and to transport
Trinocular compound light microscope Vision V-5000T Any application requiring brightfield microscopy. Trinocular port available for the attachment of a microscope camera The Vision V5000T trinocular microscope has an innovative LED powered illumination system that results in a white light instead of the yellow light produced by filament lamps with a trinocular port for the attachment of a microscope camera. It is robust and has been developed for heavy use: it consists of high quality components which assure a high image contrast and excellent optical resolution. With a modern and ergonomic design, it is easy to handle and to transport
Zeiss is a leading manufacturer of microscopes offering a broad spectrum of light, confocal, electron, ion beam and x-ray microscopes across a full range of applications and length scales. As sole provider of this complete range of techniques, Zeiss can offer unique correlative microscopy solutions that enable new insights into the micro and nano worlds, backed up by highly skilled and well-trained application specialists to support your work and ensure you get the most out of your investment.
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Product typeProduct nameApplicationsDescription
Digital microscope Smartzoom Failure analysis, quality control, routine imaging Automated digital microscope for routine and failure analysis
Stereo microscope Stemi Inspection, FA, forensics, biology Robust microscope for everyday lab work
Confocal microscope LSM 800 Materials analysis and 3D surface topography Confocal microscope for research and failure analysis
X-ray microscope Versa Materials science, electronics, life science, geology X-ray (µ-CT) microscope for 3D imaging
Electron       
Product  typeProduct nameApplicationsDescription
Scanning electron microscope EVO Materials analysis, FA, electronics, life science Flexible imaging and analytical tool
Scanning electron microscope Sigma Materials imaging and analysis, research, failure analysis High resolution imaging and analytical tool
Scanning electron microscope GeminiSEM Materials imaging and analysis, research, life science Ultra-high resolution imaging and analytical research tool
Focused ion beam/SEM Crossbeam Tomography, material processing and sample preparation FIB-SEM for high throughput nanotomography and nanofabrication
Ion beam microscope ORION NanoFab High resolution imaging and nanomachining Helium, neon and gallium ion beam microscope