Multiphoton Microscope

Ultima In Vitro

A timeless workhorse for simultaneous multiphoton imaging and photoactivation (a.k.a Prairie Scope)

Ultima In Vitro

The Ultima In Vitro Multiphoton Microscope System is the platform on which leading scientists have conducted breakthrough experiments in brain-slice studies related to neural signaling and neural network mapping. Ultima In Vitro provides simultaneous imaging and electrophysiology, plus uncaging and photostimulation for the complete stimulus and recording environment required for research by today’s neuroscientist.

scan path
Enables simultaneous imaging and photostimulation.
positioning control
Allows point photoactivation.
Integrates with electrophysiology systems.

Flexible Architecture to Meet Varying Requirements

Ultima In Vitro is the ultimate “slice rig," having provided the platform on which leading scientists have conducted breakthrough experiments in brain slices related to neural signaling and neural networks for more than ten years. The system provides the flexibility for the most demanding protocols, and is available on upright or inverted optical microscopes. Features include: 

  • Secondary scan path that enables simultaneous imaging and photostimulation
  • Visible, UV, and IR inputs for photostimulation
  • Sub-micron positioning control for point photoactivation
  • Sub-millisecond spirals for somal actiavtion
  • Synchronization and triggering to enable simultaneous imaging, photostimulation, and electrophysiology
  • Integrated electrophysiology control and recording with up to 16 analog outputs/inputs
Hippocampal pyramidal neuron and voltage recordings after uncaging.

High-Resolution Multifield Imaging

5x5 montage at 40x (covering area of 1175 um x 1175 um) of mouse kidney section with Alexa Fluor® 488 WGA, Alexa Fluor® 568 Phalloidin.

The Atlas Imaging module in Prairie View software simplifies setup of 2D and 3D automated montages. X,Y boundaries are easily setup through a thumbnail display. Tiles not containing areas of interest can be turned off, and the Z range for 3D montages can be variable, allowing more efficient collection of data.

Pharmaceutical Studies with Tissue Explants

Tissue explants provide a higher throughput model for studying tissue response to pharmaceutical agents. The FLIM option allows measurement of metabolic status through measurement of fluorescent lifetimes.

Quantitative optical imaging of primary tumor organoid metabolism predicts drug response in breast cancer. AJ Walsh, RS Cook, ME Sanders, L Aurisicchio, G Ciliberto, CL Arteaga, and MC Skala. Cancer Research (2014). Sep 15;74(18):5184-5194.

Neuronal Signaling in Brain Slices

EPSP recorded in the dendritic trunk in response to a single, high-power ungaging event at s1 (black) or s2 (grey) in brain slice; Mark T. Harnett et al., Nature 491, 599-602.

Ultima In Vitro is the system of choice for studying neuronal signaling at the both the dendritic and neural network levels. When equipped with optional photostimulation galvanometers, Ultima In Vitro provides a complete optical workstation, allowing simultaneous imaging, photostimulation and electrophysiology recording.


Volumetric Imaging of Cell Preparations

Ultima In Vitro provides high resolution and efficient volumetric imaging of cell cultures and cells in artificial matrices.

EPSP recorded in the dendritic trunk in response to a single, high-power ungaging event at s1 (black) or s2 (grey) in brain slice; Mark T. Harnett et al., Nature 491, 599-602.


Scanning Method Matched pair of 6 mm Cambridge galvanometers with raster and spiral scanning capabilities
Field of View ~600 μm x ~600 μm with 20x objective
Scan Speed Raster scan: 1.65 fps at 512 x 512, >12 fps at 64 x 64
Spiral scan: 6 fps at 512 x 512, ~30 fps at 64 x 64
Scan Customization User-definable straight, freehand and circular (infinite) linescan with included software; user-definable pixels per line and lines per scan from 1 - 2048; up to 128x scan zoom; 360° of scan rotation; point scan
Uncaging Option Second set of matched 3 mm Cambridge galvanometers in the same scan head to provide high-precision visible or multiphoton laser sample ablation
High-Speed Imaging Option 8 kHz resonant galvanometer; 30 fps at 512 x 512, >1300 fps at 512 x 8 region of interest
Confocal Option Point scan: Automated pinhole confocal attachment with up to three PMTs
Multipoint scan: Camera-based for high-speed imaging
Reflected Non-Descanned 1 - 4 hand-picked Hamamatsu Multi-Alkali PMTs; upgradeable to high-sensitivity Hamamatsu GaAsP PMTs
Transmitted Non-Descanned 1 - 2 hand-picked Hamamatsu Multi-Alkali PMTs; upgradeable to high-sensitivity Hamamatsu GaAsP PMTs
Dodt Single Hamamatsu PMT for DIC-like image collection
Transmitted Single Hamamatsu PMT for transmitted light image collection
Confocal Point scan: 1 - 3 hand-picked Hamamatsu Multi-Alkali PMTs; upgradeable to high-sensitivity Hamamatsu GaAsP PMTs
Multipoint: EMCCD
Camera Standard C2 camera port built into scan head for standard OLM image collection
Multiphoton Laser Ultima light path is optimized for multiphoton laser input from 690 - 1300 nm
Epifluorescence Standard epifluorescence head included for fluorescence imaging
Visible Laser Fibered laser inputs for visible laser introduction
Ultima Laser Rating Class 1 (Contains Class 3b & Class 4 lasers)
Helios Laser Rating Class 3b
LED Full-field photoactivation with LED module
Microscope Nikon Ti-E inverted and Nikon Ni-E upright; Olympus BX51WI and BX61WI; Zeiss Axio Observer and Axio Examiner
Specimen Stage Bruker Slim Stage for upright; ASI stage with piezo insert for inverted
Z-Focus Internal Focus Motor for Ti-E, BX 61 and Zeiss; Bruker z-focus motor for BX51WI and Ni-E; Bruker z-piezo available on BX51WI, BX61WI and Ni-E
Prairie View Imaging Software fully integrated with scan head for easy imaging; customizable scan settings for optimization of specimen excitation; integrated control of laser power and PMT high voltages
Z-Series Easy creation of depth stacks with user customizable slice number, step size and laser power
T-Series Easy creation of complex series involving Z-Series and triggered images
Stage Montage Atlas Imaging simplifies setup and optimizes acquisition of 2D and 3D stage montages
Peripherals Integration Wavelength and power control available for multiphoton and visible laser launches
Photoactivation User-defined points and regions for complex laser blanking
Regions of Interest User-defined regions for faster scanning capabilities
Brightness Over Time Capable of collecting BOT information for user-defined regions over time and/or depth
Voltage Inputs/Outputs Signal inputs and outputs for electrophysiological experiments, stimulus control, and synchronization with internal devices

Ultima In Vitro Accessories and Options

Resonant Scanner
  • Provides high-speed acquisition of 30 fps at 512 x 512
  • Relayed beam path utilizing X and Y galvos enables ROIs in X and Y, which enables panning of ROIs and higher S/N ratio
  • Can be used with photostimulation path for simultaneous high-speed imaging and stimulation
  • Read More
Photostimulation Path
  • Provides capability for simultaneous photostimulation or uncaging with imaging
  • Available for fast pulsed IR, UV or visible laser inputs
  • Precise synchronization with image and external triggers
Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging (FLIM)
  • Provides FLIM acquisition integrated with all raster scan galvo modes and ROIs
  • Enables the inclusion of FLIM experiments in Z and T-Series
Piezo Focus
  • Provides high-speed z-positioning with .05 μm accuracy
  • Focus over a 150 μm range
  • Unique calibration enables continuous movement for no dead-time during z-series acquisitions
Dual-Wavelength Module
  • Provides hardware and software components for imaging with two different multiphoton wavelengths simultaneously (with two lasers)
  • Software options allow for interlaced or simultaneous excitation scanning
  • Enables excitation of multiple probes with different excitation wavelengths without down-time for laser tuning
Full-Field Optical Input/Output Module
  • Provides full-field access to the imaging axis for light stimulus introduction or widefield imaging
  • Variable zoom capability

Hear What Our Customers Have to Say

We appreciate the modular nature of the Ultima hardware and software. The systems now available range from basic imaging systems to the dual-laser photo-stimulation multi-mode imaging workstation. We have continued updating many of our 14 machines, including our ten year old systems. The Team Viewer connection and support is a huge asset for novice owners and for significant software changes.

David Wokosin, Ph.D., Northwestern University

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