Get access

Slicing embryos gently with laser light sheets



Light sheet microscopy is an easy to implement and extremely powerful alternative to established fluorescence imaging techniques such as laser scanning confocal, multi-photon and spinning disk microscopy. By illuminating the sample only with a thin slice of light, photo-bleaching is reduced to a minimum, making light sheet microscopy ideal for non-destructive imaging of fragile samples over extended periods of time. Millimeter-sized samples can be imaged rapidly with high resolution and high depth penetration. A large variety of instruments have been developed and optimized for a number of different samples: Bessel beams form thin light sheets for single cells, and selective plane illumination microscopy (SPIM) offers multi-view acquisition to image entire embryos with isotropic resolution. This review explains how light sheet microscopy involves a conceptually new microscope design and how it changes modern imaging in biology.