Microscopy is one of the technologies that is constantly reinventing itself. The first microscopes from the early 17th century were very simple in design, but countless developments have steadily increased their performance. Whether anti-reflection coatings that ensure less scattered light and images with a much higher contrast, new lens materials that reduce color dispersion and allow more complex optics, the groundbreaking theories of Ernst Abbe, who was once the first to calculate how to increase resolution, or the super-resolution techniques for fluorescent samples and lightsheet microscopy with significantly reduced light scattering through the sample. This list could be extended indefinitely and up to now, the innovations in microscopy are the driving force behind new findings in many disciplines.
In addition to further developments by the major instrument manufacturers, it is often the ingenious researchers at universities and institutes who require very special microscope designs for their experiments and build these themselves in their own development. Example for this are the Flamingo Light Sheet Microscope from Huisken Labs at the Morgridge Institute for Research (Madison, WI) or IsoView, also a light sheet microscope - developed by Philip Keller and his research team at the Janelia Research Campus of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Ashburn (Virginia). The GATTAscope, which uses TIRF technology in conjunction with STORM techniques is also one of those in-house developments. The resulting designs are often shared on the Internet and a global community has developed that uses identical microscopes in order to compare the scientific results of a research group with their own work.
Not only application knowledge and research results but also the details of these setups, including all components used, are exchanged globally in the communities. In addition to information on laser and optic manufacturers, cameras and software the focus is also on positioning systems, their underlying drive technologies and control options. Each experiment makes its own demands on the microscope design and the positioning systems used in it.