Multimodal imaging microscope for tissue engineering applications

Customer case

Research by: Computational biophysics and imaging research group at Tampere University. Research topics include development of bioimaging, analysis and biophysics based in-silico tools for new personalized treatments and diagnostics.

Modulight products: ML6600 (488, 561, and 635 nm)

Laser use: Light source for in-house built multimodal 3D imaging microscope used for imaging tissue engineering processes and products.


Professor Jari Hyttinen



Link to the study:


Toni Montonen,
Doctoral Researcher



Motivation for the study

Tissue engineering is an evolving field of medicine that aims to grow new viable tissue for repairing or regenerating damaged tissues in the body. These tissue constructs are typically made by placing cells in support matrices that have proper growth-inducing factors. However, visualizing the development and composition of these tissue constructs is challenging with currently available optical imaging methods: they are either not capable of producing 3D images at sufficient depth or lack the bright-field imaging functionality. To answer this need, a high-resolution 3D imaging microscope was designed and constructed by combining two different imaging methods into one system. This setup combines advantages of both methods and provides more information from the sample. The system was then tested by imaging two different biological samples.


Multimodal imaging setup

The imaging system was built by the Computational Biophysics and Imaging research group. Optical projection tomography (OPT) and selective plane illumination microscopy (SPIM) were combined into one multimodal imaging system. SPIM is fluorescence-based imaging method that projects a single sheet of light to illuminate only a thin area of the sample that is being imaged. This single frame imaging significantly decreases photobleaching and enhances imaging speed compared to standard confocal microscopy that relies on scanning mechanism. However, it can only visualize fluorescent parts of the sample, so OPT was combined with SPIM to create context to images by enabling simultaneous bright field imaging of the sample.

The microscopy system was set up horizontally. This arrangement allows having the exact same detection path for both imaging methods, since SPIM illuminates the sample from the side while OPT illuminates parallel to the detection path. LED provides illumination for OPT while SPIM has illumination from Modulight’s ML6600 laser with three wavelengths (488, 561, 638 nm) for efficient excitation of fluorophores. Laser was specifically designed to be stable even at very low powers (<40 mW) to enable longer periods of continuous imaging without fast photobleaching and phototoxicity to the sample.






Imaging biological samples with the system

The multimodal imaging system was used to study the structure of two biological samples: fish head vasculature and nuclear lamina. Samples were imaged across the z-axis by taking an image at regular intervals. After imaging, a 3D model of the sample was created. Fluorescent labels (green fluorescence protein expressed in fish endothelial cells, or Alexa 561 immunostained nuclear lamina) were excited with integrated lasers to generate fluorescence signal for SPIM imaging.


Fish head vasculature

Nuclear lamina

Videos courtesy of T. Montonen / Computational Biophysics and Imaging research group / TUNI


High-resolution multimodal 3D imaging system was successfully built by combining SPIM and OPT imaging into one system to enable more versatile imaging of biomedical samples. The system produced clear and informative 3D fluorescence images from the two biological samples tested. This imaging method has big potential especially in the tissue engineering field where it can avoid issues of photobleaching or low spatial resolution of conventional fluorescence microscopy.


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Related Publications

Bioactive glass ions induce efficient osteogenic differentiation of human adipose stem cells encapsulated in gellan gum and collagen type I hydrogels
Kaisa Vuornos, Miina Ojansivu, Janne T. Koivisto, Heikki Häkkänen, Birhanu Belay, Toni Montonen, Heini Huhtala, Minna Kääriäinen, Leena Hupa, Minna Kellomäki, Jari Hyttinen, Janne A. Ihalainen, Susanna Miettinen
Materials Science and Engineering: C, 2019, 99 (905-918)


Multimodal Optical 3D-Imaging System – Hardware and Software
Toni Montonen
Master’s Thesis, 2017


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