Product News: ‘Overwhelming’ response to new light source for fluorescence microscopes that replaces the mercury bulb

12 Jul 2006

The company may not have invented a better mousetrap but visitors to MICROSCIENCE 2006 certainly beat a path to the COOLLED stand to see a new light source for fluorescence microscopes that uses high power LED arrays rather than mercury bulbs.

COOLLED, a CIL group company, attended MICROSCIENCE 2006 to launch precisExcite, a new generation of excitation light source for fluorescence microscopes that avoids all the problems users experience with mercury bulbs.

Nick Edwards, technical director of COOLLED, reports that the show was a great success saying: "Our initial research indicated that precisExcite represented a significant breakthrough in fluorescence microscopy but we were surprised and almost overwhelmed by the response from the numerous visitors to our stand. The main attractions for people who saw precisExcite for the first time were that, because we use LEDs rather than mercury lamps, the system could be switched on and off as required with no detrimental effect to the light source and it is free of all the safety and environmental issues associated with mercury lamps. The show itself was well planned and the organisation and promotion was first class."

Dr. Matt Cuttle, imaging services manager at the School of Biological Sciences, University of Southampton who has been testing precisExcite over the past few months declared that he was not surprised by the response to this new product saying: "Since we replaced mercury bulb fluorescence systems with precisExcite it has proved to be a great hit with our users. It is simple to use, the intensity is easily controlled and the fluorescence output stability has real scientific benefit. It is bright enough for all our current projects, including live cell samples, fixed tissue sections, and plant material; even penetrating deep into drosophila larvae preparations.

"It is also a great relief that we no longer have to deal with the safety issues surrounding mercury bulbs and absolutely delighted that I will never have to carry out bulb alignment again. As a bonus we calculate that we will not need to change these fluorescent sources for the next 15 to 25 years."

The new COOLLED precisExcite has many advantages over conventional light sources, among them the fact that it generates no radiant heat and can be finely controlled to avoid photo bleaching.

The benefits of using LEDs over conventional light sources are well known but, until now, it has not been possible to produce arrays with sufficient power. Now, because of the development of new LED array technology, the precisExcite is the first commercially viable unit of its kind and is designed to work with all types of fluorescence microscopes.