A self-adjusting, holotomographic microscope


A Self-Adjusting, Holotomographic Microscope

This 3D holotomographic live cell microscope is the result of years of work and development. Through a combination of holography and rotational scanning the system detects changes to light as it propagates through the cell, i.e. the 4D distribution of the physical refractive index (RI) within the cell.

The sample is positioned between a high-numerical-aperture air objective beneath the sample and a rotational illumination arm above. Green light (520 nm) from a laser diode is split into sample and reference beams. The sample is illuminated with a laser beam inclined at 45° which rotates around the sample 360°. A series of holograms is recorded on a digital camera by combining the beam that has passed through the sample with the reference beam. 


Unibody Concept

A revolutionary intuition was to reduce structural complexity to one unique basic component – a unibody industrially derived from a single piece of aluminum. Thanks to this simple design, the 3D Cell Explorer is thin, light and stable.


To achieve optimal results for every measurement, the optics of this live cell imaging tool are completely self-adjusting on sample conditions (e.g. media evaporation).


Low Power Laser

The 3D Cell Explorer uses a low power laser (Laser class 1: 0.2mW/mm2): No goggles required.


Fast Acquisition

A full 3D image of the cell will be loaded to your screen within two seconds.




Long Term Observation

The microscope’s stage is perfectly compatible with classical top stage incubators. You are able to observe your cell’s behavior in their natural environment (5% CO2 & 37°C).




Technical Specifications

Microscope Objective

  • Air 60x magnification with low power laser (λ = 520nm, sample exposure 0.2mW/mm2)


  • Δxy = 200nm; Δz = 400nm


  • 85 × 85 × 30 μm


  • ~ 30µm

Tomography Frame Rate

  • 3D image rate 0.5fps, full self-adjustment

Accessible sample stage

  • 60 mm of free access to the sample stage for sample manipulation

The software STEVE

STEVE is the Cell Explorer’s software counterpart and all you need to dive into the microcosm of living cells. Harnessing your computer’s graphics processor, we designed STEVE to run smoothly, even during acquisition.

Use STEVE’s intuitive interface to control the microscope, explore your data using interactive digital staining and even perform quantitative analyses on your measurements. If you’re happy with your results, you can easily share them online or directly get them 3D printed.

Software features

  • GPU-accelerated 3D processing and display
Intuitive graphical user interface
  • Quantitative staining based on physical markers (refractive index)
  • Versatile statistical analysis tools

Coming soon

  • Integrated Cell Cloud access (optional)
  • Secure copies of your measurements
  • Share your data in publications or directly with your peers
  • Advanced maintenance features
  • Integrated online 3d printing service
  • Access to advanced community-based statistical tools thanks to anonymous data sharing

You will shortly be able to download our software STEVE and see for yourself!

Try the Software

The Technology

Click here to learn more about Nanolive’s live cell imaging technology!

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