Expert Insight: How to use multiple observation methods to get the most from your slides

Industry expert in virtual slide scanning and upright microscopes shares an innovative combinatory approach to slide observation

06 Apr 2020

Dr. F. Ted Limpoco
Alec De Grand, Olympus Corporation of the Americas

Researchers often need to combine different observation methods to view structures that are only visible under certain conditions. In those instances where samples are in limited quantity, it is important to understand the combinatory approaches available in order to maximize the information that can be gained from any single slide.

In this on-demand SelectScience webinar, Alec De Grand, from Olympus Corporation of the Americas, discusses various observation methods to visualize a slide, including ways to combine methods in order to overcome one method’s disadvantage.

Read on for highlights from the live Q&A session or register to watch the webinar at any time that suits you.


Q: Do you need to combine methods to get the information? 

ADG: The short answer is no, you don't always need to. Sometimes if you're just doing something like fluorescence where you just want to see your signal to see if they are a yes or no, that's enough. But if you want to add context to what you're looking at, maybe you want to add bright field or maybe you want to add dark field to the image to give you more information out of it. If it's for your everyday things, you may not need it. But for things like presentations or publications, you may want to try to push that level a little higher by adding another observation level.

Q: Are there any additional methods that can combine to gain more information? 

ADG: Certainly. I talked about the major ones, but there are others, such as differential interference contrast or relief contrast/ Hoffman modulation or dot contrast. These are all variations on phase and polarization that also give you advantages and disadvantages. So, you could always mix those and match those as well. With fluorescence, now you're going to get confocal and light shading. These kinds of different observations that have very specific things, they also have disadvantages to them. There are many different observation methods when it comes to microscopy — you can mix and match. I just picked the most common ones that people would use a lot of.

Q: Can you combine these methods in whole slide imaging as well? 

ADG: Yes. A lot of people do that all the time, usually bright field and fluorescence. Our system, like the VS200, can do all the methods that we're showing in the publication as well. So, they can mix and match. Normally two, sometimes three can be overlaid with each other. But when you overlay more and more observations, you can be blurring your data and not actually clarifying it.

Q: Are there automated slide scanners coming up with the ability to combine multiple imaging modes

ADG: Yes. As I said, the images that we're seeing here were on our VS series scanners, which can be achieved by mixing and matching. With the VS200, many systems have a bright field and fluorescence option. Not too many have the bright field, fluorescence and dark field. All of them kind of move together, but it's something coming down the road. There are a few out there that can do these things. Normally, it's an add-on option to add an extra observation method. But for the VS, it's built-in, except for fluorescence. That's an add-on. 

Learn more about slide observation: Watch this webinar on demand >>