Carl Zeiss MicroImaging GmbH: Patents Issued for Licensed PAL-M Super-resolution Technology
The United States Patent and Trademark Office has issued three patents (US 7,626,694, US 7,828,695 and US 7,626,703) to Dr. Eric Betzig and Dr. Harald Hess for their invention relating to super-resolution Photo-Activated-Localization Microscopy (PAL-M). PAL-Microscopy is now protected by these patents. Carl Zeiss MicroImaging GmbH had acquired an exclusive license for the distribution of PAL-M in 2007.
The microscopy technology enables imaging of samples with a spatial resolution of a few nanometers.
The basic idea of the invention is to generate sparse subsets of fluorescent dye molecules at a time. This allows to accurately determine the position of those individual fluorescent molecules with nanometer precision. Thus, serial acquisition of images with consecutively phototransformed fluorescent molecules permits the generation of a super-resolved image by rendering the superposition of the localized molecules.
Carl Zeiss MicroImaging GmbH initiated the market launch of the ELYRA product family towards the end of 2009. This includes the first commercially available PAL-Microscope system ELYRA P.1 with a lateral resolution of less than 20 nm. This is a factor of 10 higher than in conventional light microscopes and, together with the very broad field of applications of the PAL-M technology, opens up new application potential for commercially available light microscopes.
In the ELYRA PS.1 microscope system, PAL- Microscopy is combined with Structured Illumination Microscopy (SIM), another super- resolution generating technology. The SIM technology was licensed by Carl Zeiss MicroImaging GmbH from the University of California in San Francisco in October 2009. The ELYRA product family microscopes can also be combined with the Laser Scanning Microscopes LSM 710 or LSM 780 from Carl Zeiss.
In their Nature Methods publication of December 2008 (vol. 6, no. 1), renowned researchers Jennifer Lippincott-Schwarz and Suliana Manley envisioned that super-resolution microscopy technologies have the potential to revolutionize the understanding of the fundamentals of cell biology. Meanwhile several research groups have demonstrated this potential in numerous high- quality publications.
Carl Zeiss AG
Carl Zeiss AG is a leading group of companies operating worldwide in the optical and opto-electronic industries. The five independently operating business groups are active in the future-oriented markets of Medical and Research Solutions, Industrial Solutions and Lifestyle Products. Founded in 1846 in Jena, the company is headquartered in Oberkochen, Germany. Carl Zeiss AG is fully owned by the Carl Zeiss Stiftung (Carl Zeiss Foundation). During fiscal year 2007/08 (ended Sept. 30), the company generated revenues of EUR 2,731 million. Carl Zeiss has around 13,000 employees in more than 30 countries, including over 8,000 in Germany.
Carl Zeiss MicroImaging GmbH
Carl Zeiss MicroImaging GmbH is a 100% subsidiary of Carl Zeiss AG. The leading manufacturer of microscope systems offers total solutions for biomedical research, the healthcare sector and high-tech industries. The product line spans a broad spectrum from light microscopes and systems for laser scanning microscopy and spectrometry to hardware and software for image processing and documentation. Microscopes from Carl Zeiss allow scientists to gain important knowledge about diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and tuberculosis. This results in new diagnostic techniques and better drugs for therapy. ZEISS microscopes support the development of new materials and enable more efficient quality inspection in industry. Carl Zeiss MicroImaging GmbH is headquartered in Jena. Other manufacturing and development sites are located in Göttingen and Munich. During fiscal year 2007/08, the Microscopy Group at Carl Zeiss generated revenues of approximately EUR 340 million with a global workforce of about 1,700. Further information is available at
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