Nikon A1R confocal microscope

The A1R confocal received a major hardware upgrade in November 2016 and January 2017:

  • high-sensitive GaAsP-detectors for standard- and spectral imaging
  • a new laser-box with 6 solid state lasers: 405, 445, 488, 514, 561 and 640nm
  • a time domain FLIM and FCS unit from PicoQuant

Point scanning confocal microscope with hybrid-scanner (galvano/resonant), 4 channel detection (excitation wavelengths 405, 445, 488, 514, 561 and 640nm) and 32 channel spectral detector (2.5/6/10nm spectral resolution).

The A1R is Nikon's present high-end point scanning confocal microscope. The system features a so called "hybrid scanner", that is two scanners in one scanning-head: a glavano scanner for low-noise images ranging in resolution from 64 x 64 up to 4096 x 4096 pixels and a resonant scanner that is capable of taking up to 30 full 512 x 512 pixel frames per second. What is more, both scanners can be used in parallel: while the fast resonant scanner is acquiring images the galvano scanner may perform bleaching or activation of user defined regions of interest.

For general imaging, the A1R offers three operating modes. In the standard mode the signal of the fluorochromes that are excited by six available lasers (405, 445, 488, 514, 561 and 640nm) is separated by dichroic mirrors and optical filters. Up to four channels can be acquires in a line mode using ultra sensitive GaAsP-detectors. If fluorochromes are used whose emission is too close to be separated by this method (like GFP and YFP), a spectral detector does the job: here the fluorochrome emission can be split up in up to 32 bands of 2.5, 6 or 10 nm bandwidth. By this these signals can be clearly and reliably distinguished by a process called "spectral unmixing" implemented in the NIS-Elements image acquisition and analysis software. Spectral imaging also makes it possible to separate a fluorescent background from specific signal.

Nikon A1R confocal microscope

The third mode is called "virtual filters". Here the spectral detector is used to freely define ranges where signals are detected.

The A1R confocal is mounted on a fully automated Nikon Ti-E inverted microscope. A Nikon Perfect Focus System (PFS) is included that continuously determines the distance to the coverslip, readjusting it if required, for instance due to changes because of thermal drift. Long-term experiments are strongly faciliated by this. Life cell imaging of mamalian cells is possible because the system is equipped with an on-stage incubation chamber from TokaiHit, controlling temperature, CO2-concentration and humidity.


  • Nikon Plan Apo λ 4x NA 0.20 (working distance 20mm, FOV 3.18 x 3.18mm)
  • Nikon Plan Apo λ 10x NA 0.45 (working distance 4mm, FOV 1.27 x 1.27mm)
  • Nikon Plan Apo λ 20x NA 0.75 (working distance 1mm, FOV 0.64 x 0.64mm)
  • Nikon Plan Fluor 40x NA 1.3 (working distance 0.2mm, FOV 0.32 x 0.32mm)
  • Nikon N Apo 60x NA 1.4 λs oil immersion (working distance 0.14mm, FOV 0.21 x 0.21mm)
  • Nikon Plan Apo IR 60x NA 1.27 water immersion (working distance 0.18 - 0.16mm, FOV 0.21 x 0.21mm)

Until November 05, 2013 a Nikon Plan Apo λ 60x NA 1.40 oil immersion (working distance 0.13mm, FOV 0.21 x 0.21mm) preceded the N Apo 60x NA 1.4 λs objective.

Relative fluorescence image brightnes

The higher the NA of an objective, the more light it collects. The higher the magnification on the other hand, the more the collected light is "diluted". The list shows that the 40x objective is the most efficient one in terms of image brightness:

  • Nikon Plan Apo λ 4x NA 0.20: 1.0
  • Nikon Plan Apo λ 10x NA 0.45: 4.1
  • Nikon Plan Apo λ 20x NA 0.7: 7.9
  • Nikon Plan Fluor 40x NA 1.3: 17.9
  • Nikon Apo λs 60x NA 1.40: 10.7
  • Nikon Plan Apo IR 60x NA 1.27: 7.2

Signal Detection

In the "normal" 4 channel detection mode, the signal of the fluorochromes that are excited by the available lasers are detected in the following ranges (center wavelength [nm]/bandwidth [nm]):

  • 450/50
  • 482/35
  • 525/50
  • 540/30
  • 595/50
  • 700/75

In the spectral detection mode signal detection is possible from 400 to 750nm with a spectral discrimination of 2.5, 6 or 10nm (32 channels maximum). Channel binning or skipping is possible.

Bearbeiter: Christian Ackermann

Latest Revision: 2017-02-23

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